Share this entry

Share this page

eugenics

Line breaks: eu|gen¦ics
Pronunciation: /juːˈdʒɛnɪks
 
/

Definition of eugenics in English:

plural noun

[treated as singular]
The science of improving a population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics.
Example sentences
  • In Erlangen, the University keenly promoted the science of eugenics.
  • Once you've got regulated breeding, it's a short skip to selective breeding - eugenics.
  • He devoted the latter part of his life to eugenics, i.e. improving the physical and mental makeup of the human species by selected parenthood.

Derivatives

eugenic

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • As more people can derive benefits from the use of genetic information to guide reproductive decisions eugenic practices will become very widespread.
  • For people such as Fisher, who was a leading figure in the American eugenics movement, the eugenic program of race improvement was the central concern.
  • The eugenic and Social Darwinism programs are morally repugnant, but seem to be based on Darwinian evolutionary facts.

eugenically

2
adverb
Example sentences
  • And a 1916 feature film even encouraged people to marry eugenically and kill their defective offspring.
  • Early-twentieth-century uneasiness about lower-class whites overpopulating the nation led to a panicked organization of public and private research which could eugenically chart lines of white families.
  • In the former, the exhausted, unnamed protagonist is offered two weeks in the country with her six young children, compliments of the eugenically named Social Betterment Society.

eugenicist

3
Pronunciation: /juːˈdʒɛnɪsɪst/
noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • The eugenicists believed Mendelian laws governed the heredity of human physiological traits and social traits.
  • He has gathered many documents - letters by leading eugenicists, publications of eugenics associations, and records of institutions for the mentally retarded - that historians had already found and interpreted.
  • We know that social Darwinists and eugenicists in the past have drawn on, and perhaps been inspired by, evolutionary biology.

eugenist

4
Pronunciation: /ˈjuːdʒɪnɪst/
noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • To propagate this message, eugenists were instrumental in developing tests for ‘racial fitness’, primarily intelligence tests.
  • In the US and elsewhere, however, other eugenists were extremely cautious about the question of birth control.
  • The eugenists wanted to shift the birth control emphasis from less children for the poor to more children for the rich.

Definition of eugenics in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day cumbersome
Pronunciation: ˈkʌmbəs(ə)m
adjective
large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry…