butterfly effect

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butterfly effect (plural butterfly effects)

  1. The technical notion of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory.
  2. (by extension, science fiction) The notion that small changes in the past via time travel can cause disproportionately large and unforeseeable consequences in the present.
    Example of butterfly effect: stepping on a bug 4,000 years ago causes a different person to win the presidential election today.


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