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


  • IPA(key): /juːˈd͡ʒɛnɪks/


eugenics (uncountable)

  1. (sociology, biology) A social philosophy or practice 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.

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  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.

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