|1.||the principle or practice of unselfish concern for the welfare of others|
|2.||the philosophical doctrine that right action is that which produces the greatest benefit to others|
|[C19: from French altruisme, from Italian altrui others, from Latin alterī, plural of alter other]|
|altruism (āl'tr-ĭz'əm) Pronunciation Key
Instinctive cooperative behavior that is detrimental or without reproductive benefit to the individual but that contributes to the survival of the group to which the individual belongs. The willingness of a subordinate member of a wolf pack to forgo mating and help care for the dominant pair's pups is an example of altruistic behavior. While the individual may not reproduce, or may reproduce less often, its behavior helps ensure that a close relative does successfully reproduce, thus passing on a large share of the altruistic individual's genetic material.
A selfless concern for others.