eugenics

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Coined in 1883 by Francis Galton.[1] From ἐΰς (eǘs, good) +‎ γίγνομαι (gígnomai, breeding), “well-bred”, “good in stock”. Parallel to Eugene.

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Noun[edit]

eugenics (uncountable)

  1. (sociology, biology) A social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary qualities through selective breeding, either by encouraging people with good genetic qualities to reproduce (positive eugenics), or discouraging people with bad genetic qualities from reproducing (negative eugenics), or by technological means.
  2. (biology) The science of improving stock, whether human or animal.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Francis Galton (1883) Inquiries into human faculty and its development (in English), page 24:
    This is, with questions bearing on what is termed in Greek, eugenes, namely, good in stock, hereditarily endowed with noble qualities. This, and the allied words, eugeneia, etc., are equally applicable to men, brutes, and plants. [] We greatly want a brief word to express the science of improving stock [] The word eugenics would sufficiently express the idea; it is at least a neater word and a more generalised one than viriculture, which I once ventured to use.