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

neotenic

play \ˌnē-ə-ˈte-nik\ adjective

Recent Examples of neoteny from the Web

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.

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."


Learn More about neoteny


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up neoteny? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a downward inclination or slope

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a-pile-of-three-dimensional-shapes-in-green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!