A return to an older way of doing something—or an old characteristic that reappears—is a throwback. If you like dressing in bell bottoms and leisure suits, your style is a throwback to the 1970s.

The noun throwback can be a less-formal way to say atavism. Both words describe a reversion to something that was done (or existed) in the past. If you have red hair like your great-grandmother, you can call that trait a throwback. In sports, a throwback uniform is one that mimics an older style, worn by teams in the past. In biology, a throwback is a trait that returns after having been lost through evolution.

Definitions of throwback

n a reappearance of an earlier characteristic

atavism, reversion
Type of:
recurrence, return
the event of happening again (especially at regular intervals)

n an organism that has the characteristics of a more primitive type of that organism

Type of:
being, organism
a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently

adj characteristic of an atavist

opposing progress; returning to a former less advanced state

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