Meaning of MUTATION in English

myüˈtāshən noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English mutacioun, from Middle French mutation, from Latin mutation-, mutatio, from mutatus + -ion-, -io -ion

1. : a major change : a significant and basic alteration

changes are not all gradual; they culminate in sudden mutations — John Dewey


a. in medieval solmization : the change from one hexachord to another involving a change of syllable for a given musical tone

b. : mutation stop



(1) : any of several changes undergone by stops in Celtic languages because of their phonetic surroundings

(2) : the phonetic changes that some initial consonants in Celtic languages undergo under certain sandhi conditions

b. : umlaut


a. : a hypothetical sudden fundamental change in heredity believed to result in the production of new individuals that are basically unlike their parents and that can be acted upon by natural selection to fix desirable changes and establish new species — compare darwinism , evolution , macroevolution , saltation

b. : a relatively permanent change in hereditary material other than one brought about by Mendelian recombination of factors involving either a physical change in chromosome relations (as in polyploidy, nondisjunction, or deficiency) or a fundamental change in genes and occurring either in germ cells or in somatic cells but with only those in germ cells being capable of perpetuation by sexual reproduction — see gene mutation , somatic mutation


(1) : an individual or strain resulting from mutation — compare freak 3b

(2) : an animal (as a mink) of a domesticated strain which differs especially in coat color from typical animals of the wild type and whose difference is maintained by selective breeding ; also : the coat color of such an animal — compare color phase

5. : one of a series of palaeontologic stages that are comparable to subspecies and that occur in the temporal succession of a line of fossils in successive horizons

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.