tro·​po·​tax·​is ˌtrō-pə-ˈtak-səs How to pronounce tropotaxis (audio)
: a taxis in which an organism orients itself by the simultaneous comparison of stimuli of different intensity acting on separate end organs

Word History


borrowed from German Tropotaxis, from tropo- tropo- + -taxis -taxis

Note: The term was introduced by the German biologist Alfred Kühn (1885-1968) in Die Orientierung der Tiere im Raum (Jena, 1919), pp. 9-10: "In der Tropotaxis stellen sie [die meisten frei beweglichen Tiere] sich in einem Reizfelde symmetrisch ein so, dass rechte und linke Seite gleich stark von dem Reiz getroffen werden." ("In tropotaxis they [most freely motile animals] situate themselves in a stimulus field symmetrically, so that the left and right sides are affected by the stimulus with equal strength.")

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tropotaxis was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near tropotaxis

Cite this Entry

“Tropotaxis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

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