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1. The retention of juvenile characteristics in the adults of a species, as among certain amphibians. Also called pedomorphism, pedomorphosis.
2. The attainment of sexual maturity and subsequent reproduction by an organism still in its larval stage. Also called pedogenesis2.

[New Latin neotenia : neo- + Greek teinein, ten-, to extend; see tenesmus.]

ne′o·ten′ic (nē′ə-tĕn′ĭk, -tē′nĭk), ne·ot′e·nous (-ŏt′n-əs) adj.


(nɪˈɒtənɪ) or


(Zoology) the persistence of larval or fetal features in the adult form of an animal. For example, the adult axolotl, a salamander, retains larval external gills. See also paedogenesis
[C19: from New Latin neotenia, from Greek neo- + teinein to stretch]
neotenic, neˈotenous adj


(niˈɒt n i)

1. the production of offspring by an organism in its larval or juvenile form; the elimination of the adult phase of the life cycle.
2. the retention in adulthood of a feature or features that appeared in an earlier phase in the life cycle of ancestral individuals.
[1900–05; < New Latin neotēnia < Greek neo- neo- + teín(ein) to stretch + -ia -y3]
ne•ot′e•nous, adj.


the capacity or state of becoming sexually mature in the larval stage. — neotenous, adj.
See also: Insects
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.neoteny - an evolutionary trend to be born earlier so that development is cut off at an earlier stage and juvenile characteristics are retained in adults of the species
evolutionary trend - a general direction of evolutionary change
References in periodicals archive ?
From Here to Maturity: Overcoming the Juvenilization of American Christianity discusses the concept of spiritual maturity: one that has been largely neglected in Christian circles.
Teenagers and Teenpics: The Juvenilization of American Movies in the 1950s (Revised Edition).