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[sal-tey-shuh n] /sælˈteɪ ʃən/
a dancing, hopping, or leaping movement.
an abrupt movement or transition.
Geology. intermittent, leaping movement of particles of sand or gravel, as from the force of wind or running water.
  1. a sudden discontinuity in a line of descent.
  2. a mutation.
Origin of saltation
1640-50; < Latin saltātiōn- (stem of saltātiō) a dancing, equivalent to saltāt(us) (past participle of saltāre; see saltant) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
saltational, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for saltation
  • saltation is downwind movement of particles in a series of jumps or skips.
  • The saltation source term is applied only in the control volumes adjacent to the solid boundaries.
  • Every measurement period will record a count from this signal, even when no saltation has occurred.
  • Three types of particle motion were characterized in the early wind tunnel experiments: suspension, saltation, and creeping.
  • Particles not far above the suspension threshold can be expected to be transported in saltation.
  • Most of this material moves in a series of short-distance jumps called saltation.
  • saltation is a bouncing of the grains across the beach.
  • The bed load is that portion of the sediment that moves along the bottom by sliding, rolling, or saltation.
British Dictionary definitions for saltation


(biology) an abrupt variation in the appearance of an organism, species, etc, usually caused by genetic mutation
(geology) the leaping movement of sand or soil particles carried in water or by the wind
a sudden abrupt movement or transition
Word Origin
C17: from Latin saltātiō a dance, from saltāre to leap about
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for saltation

"a leap, a bound," 1620s, from Latin saltationem (nominative saltatio) "a dancing; dance," noun of action from past participle stem of saltare "to hop, dance," frequentative of salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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saltation in Medicine

saltation sal·ta·tion (sāl-tā'shən, sôl-)

  1. The act of leaping, jumping, or dancing.

  2. Discontinuous movement, transition, or development; advancement by leaps as of a disease or physiologic function.

  3. A single mutation that drastically alters the phenotype.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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saltation in Science
  (sāl-tā'shən, sôl-)   
A single mutation that drastically alters the phenotype.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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