neoteny

noun
ne·o·te·ny | \nē-ˈä-tə-nē \

Definition of neoteny 

1 : retention of some larval or immature characters in adulthood

2 : attainment of sexual maturity during the larval stage

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Other Words from neoteny

neotenic \ˌnē-ə-ˈte-nik \ adjective

Examples of neoteny in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Humans are hopelessly drawn to neoteny—the kissable, squishable, button-nosed, big-eyed, irresistibility of babies—and your parents will generally have your back. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Dear Royal Baby: Being the Youngest Child Comes With Some Surprising Advantages," 23 Apr. 2018

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

First Known Use of neoteny

1901, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for neoteny

borrowed from German Neotenie, from Greek néos "young" + -o- -o- + teínein "to stretch, extend" + German -ie -y entry 2 — more at new entry 1, thin entry 1

Note: The word Neotenie was introduced by the German biologist Julius Kollmann (1834-1918) in "Das Ueberwintern von europäischen Frosch- und Tritonlarven und die Umwandlung des mexikanischen Axolotl," Verhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft in Basel, 7. Theil, 2. Heft (1884), p. 391. In explaining the coinage, Kollmann inaccurately glossed Greek teínein as "halten, hinhalten" ("hold, hold/put off"), perhaps through confusion with Latin tenēre "to hold."

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The first known use of neoteny was in 1901

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More from Merriam-Webster on neoteny

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about neoteny

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