survival of the fittest
- (evolutionary theory) Natural selection.
1872, Charles Darwin, “Chapter IV”, in The Origin of Species, Sixth London Edition edition:
- Slow though the process of selection may be, if feeble man can do much by artificial selection, I can see no limit to the amount of change, to the beauty and complexity of the coadaptations between all organic beings, one with another and with their physical conditions of life, which may have been effected in the long course of time through nature's power of selection, that is by the survival of the fittest.
- ^ R. B. Freeman, notes on On the Origin of Species (1977), in The Works of Charles Darwin: An Annotated Bibliographical Handlist, second edition. The relevant sentence of the fifth edition of Darwin's On the Origin of Species is: "This preservation of favourable variations, and the destruction of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest."