(the) survival of the fittest

(the) survival of the fittest

1. Literally, the principle theory of evolution that the species that are able to adapt to their environments will continue to survive, while those that don't will ultimately die out. Nowhere do you see the survival of the fittest demonstrated more clearly than this enclosed ecosystem, where each species is in a constant struggle for food and dominance.
2. By extension, the people or things that can best navigate, adapt to, or compete in a difficult or tricky situation or environment will be much more likely to succeed. They always had a mentality of survival of the fittest in that office, putting huge workloads on people and telling those who couldn't cope with the pressure to just find another job. With so many different smartphones on the market, it really is the survival of the fittest right now.
See also: fit, of, survival

survival of the fittest

the idea that the most able or fit will survive (while the less able and less fit will perish). (This is used literally as a principle of the theory of evolution.) In college, it's the survival of the fittest. You have to keep working in order to survive and graduate. I don't give my houseplants very good care, but the ones I have are really flourishing. It's the survival of the fittest, I guess.
See also: fit, of, survival

survival of the fittest

Those best adapted to particular conditions will succeed in the long run, as in They've had to close a dozen of their stores, but the ones in the western part of the state are doing well-it's the survival of the fittest . This phrase was invented by Herbert Spencer in Principles of Biology (1864) to describe Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection of living species. By the early 1900s it was being transferred to other areas.
See also: fit, of, survival

survival of the fittest

the continued existence of organisms which are best adapted to their environment, with the extinction of others, as a concept in the Darwinian theory of evolution.
The phrase was coined by the English philosopher and sociologist Herbert Spencer ( 1820–1903 ) in Principles of Biology ( 1865 ). Besides its formal scientific use, the phrase is often used loosely and humorously in contexts relating to physical fitness (or the lack of it).
See also: fit, of, survival

(the) surˌvival of the ˈfittest

the principle that only the people or things that are best adapted to their surroundings will continue to exist: In this climate of economic recession, many businesses are at risk, and it really is a case of survival of the fittest.
Fittest means ‘most suitable’.
See also: fit, of, survival
Full browser ?