eugenics

noun, plural in form but singular in construction eu·gen·ics \ yü-ˈje-niks \
Updated on: 2 Apr 2018

Definition of eugenics

: the practice or advocacy of controlled selective breeding of human populations (as by sterilization) to improve the population's genetic composition
  • In 1883 Francis Galton, in England, coined the term "eugenics" to encompass the idea of modification of natural selection through selective breeding for the improvement of humankind …
  • —Jeremiah A. Barondess
  • A half-century ago, eugenics became associated with Hitler, genocide and master-race theories, and its reputation has never recovered.
  • —Dan Seligman
  • After the Second World War, "eugenics" became a word to be hedged with caveats in Britain and virtually a dirty word in the United States, where it had long been identified with racism.
  • —Daniel J. Kevles
  • The new advocates of biotechnology speak approvingly of what they term "free-market eugenics."
  • —Dinesh D'Souza

Recent Examples of eugenics from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eugenics.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of eugenics

1883


EUGENICS Defined for English Language Learners

eugenics

Definition of eugenics for English Language Learners

  • : a science that tries to improve the human race by controlling which people become parents


Medical Dictionary

eugenics

noun plural but singular in construction eu·gen·ics \ yu̇-ˈjen-iks \

medical Definition of eugenics

: a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed

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