survival of the fittest

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Coined by philosopher Herbert Spencer in 1864 after reading Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, and used by Darwin himself in subsequent editions of that work.[1]

Noun[edit]

survival of the fittest ‎(uncountable)

  1. Natural selection.
    • 1872, Charles Darwin, “Chapter IV”, in The Origin of Species, edition Sixth London 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.

Translations[edit]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ 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."