poly·​gen·​e·​sis | \ ˌpä-lē-ˈje-nə-səs How to pronounce polygenesis (audio) \

Definition of polygenesis

: development from more than one source

Examples of polygenesis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The images of Renty and his daughter are part of Agassiz’s polygenesis work. Deirdre Fernandes, BostonGlobe.com, "Agassiz descendants put pressure on Harvard to give up slave photos," 19 June 2019 But Agassiz also advocated polygenesis, the belief that humans weren’t all the same species and that white people were superior. Deirdre Fernandes, BostonGlobe.com, "Agassiz descendants put pressure on Harvard to give up slave photos," 19 June 2019 Douglass was especially critical of the promotion of polygenesis: the idea that the races of humankind emerged in separate creation events and with unequal capacities. Britt Rusert, Slate Magazine, "Lessons to Learn From the “Fugitive Scientists”," 1 Mar. 2017 Far less so is Samuel Morton (champion of the obsolete theory of polygenesis) or Thomas Dixon (author of novels romanticizing Klan violence). Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times, "A History of Race and Racism in America, in 24 Chapters," 22 Feb. 2017 This shaped his application of special creationism to humans, in a theory that came to be known as polygenesis. National Geographic, "Darwin's Theory of Evolution Roiled U.S. on Eve of Civil War," 5 Feb. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of polygenesis

circa 1872, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for polygenesis

New Latin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about polygenesis

Statistics for polygenesis

Last Updated

23 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for polygenesis

The first known use of polygenesis was circa 1872

See more words from the same year

Comments on polygenesis

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


miscellaneous remnants or debris

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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