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Definition of atavism:

  1. The recurrence of any peculiarity or disease of an ancestor in a subsequent generation, after an intermission for a generation or two.
  2. The recurrence, or a tendency to a recurrence, of the original type of a species in the progeny of its varieties; resemblance to remote rather than to near ancestors; reversion to the original form.

Synonyms:

regression, lapse, reversal, retroversion, lapsing, backsliding, reverting, retrogression, turnabout, turnaround, reversion, throwback, regress, relapsing, relapse, atavist, reverse.

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