the butterfly effect

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the butterfly effect

The idea that a small change, action, or event can cause much larger one elsewhere or in the future through a chain reaction. An allusion to chaos theory, popularized by the notion that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world might cause a tornado many miles away. It was basically the butterfly effect that led me to this life: My haphazard decision to study Irish literature in college in Canada led me to do a master's degree in Dublin, which led me to an internship for an Irish publisher, which led me to be friends with a co-worker there, who introduced me to the woman who would eventually be my wife. The government's decision to deregulate the market created a butterfly effect that eventually produced the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression.
See also: butterfly, effect
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

the butterfly effect

the phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.
The expression comes from chaos theory. In 1979 , Edward N. Lorenz gave a paper to the American Association for the Advancement of Science entitled ‘Does the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?’
See also: butterfly, effect
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
An example of apical cracks in a tooth with the butterfly effect is shown in Fig.
In Section 3, we will probe the butterfly effect with the mutual correlation in the dynamical background.
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The Butterfly Effect - a coalition of 80 civil society organisations - denounces the absence of an explicit reference to such a commitment.
The next two concepts often are seen in intertwingled systems, the first being the butterfly effect, which refers to the notion that a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon may create changes in the meteorological system leading to a blizzard in Ohio.
A BLOODSTOCK equivalent of the butterfly effect - the theory that an insect flapping its wings in one place might lead to a hurricane on the other side of the world - occurred in Suffolk on Saturday night, starting with the birth of a foal by Black Sam Bellamy, writes Richard Griffiths.
Butterfly effect: The agent arrives at the appointment to find an elderly non-English speaking Hispanic woman who has early-stage dementia.
"You are living in the country that can create the biggest of butterfly effect. That is why Turks living here do not have the luxury to make up excuses in the face of developments, whatsoever.