[ myoo-tey-shuh n ]
/ myuˈteɪ ʃən /


  1. a sudden departure from the parent type in one or more heritable characteristics, caused by a change in a gene or a chromosome.
  2. an individual, species, or the like, resulting from such a departure.
the act or process of changing.
a change or alteration, as in form or nature.
Phonetics. umlaut.
Linguistics. (in Celtic languages) syntactically determined morphophonemic phenomena that affect initial sounds of words.

Origin of mutation

1325–75; Middle English mutacio(u)n < Latin mūtātion- (stem of mūtātiō) a changing. See mutate, -ion


Example sentences from the Web for mutation

British Dictionary definitions for mutation

/ (mjuːˈteɪʃən) /


the act or process of mutating; change; alteration
a change or alteration
a change in the chromosomes or genes of a cell. When this change occurs in the gametes the structure and development of the resultant offspring may be affected See also inversion (def. 11)
another word for mutant (def. 1)
a physical characteristic of an individual resulting from this type of chromosomal change
  1. (in Germanic languages) another name for umlaut
  2. (in Celtic languages) a phonetic change in certain initial consonants caused by a preceding word

Derived forms of mutation

mutational, adjective mutationally, adverb

Medical definitions for mutation

[ myōō-tāshən ]


The act or process of being altered or changed.
An alteration or change, as in nature, form, or quality.
A sudden structural change within a gene or chromosome of an organism resulting in the creation of a new character or trait not found in the parental type.
The process by which such a sudden structural change occurs, either through an alteration in the nucleotide sequence of the DNA coding for a gene or through a change in the physical arrangement of a chromosome.
A mutant.

Other words from mutation

mu•tation•al adj.

Scientific definitions for mutation

[ myōō-tāshən ]

A change in the structure of the genes or chromosomes of an organism. Mutations occurring in the reproductive cells, such as an egg or sperm, can be passed from one generation to the next. Most mutations occur in junk DNA and have no discernible effects on the survivability of an organism. Of the remaining mutations, the majority have harmful effects, while a minority can increase an organism's ability to survive. A mutation that benefits a species may evolve by means of natural selection into a trait shared by some or all members of the species. See Note at sickle cell anemia.