neoteny

noun ne·o·te·ny \ nē-ˈä-tə-nē \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of neoteny

1 :retention of some larval or immature characters in adulthood
2 :attainment of sexual maturity during the larval stage

neotenic

play \ˌnē-ə-ˈte-nik\ adjective

Origin and Etymology of neoteny

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