- the reappearance in an individual of characteristics of some remote ancestor that have been absent in intervening generations.
- an individual embodying such a reversion.
- reversion to an earlier type; throwback.
1833, from F. atavisme, coined 1830s from L. atavus "ancestor," from at- perhaps here meaning "beyond" + avus "grandfather," from PIE *awo- "adult male relative other than the father" (see uncle). (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atavism)
"The revolution all seizures of land seemed to be outbursts of atavistic communism."
- John Womack, Zapata and the Mexican Revolution