"reverting to type"

Posted by R. Berg on August 31, 2001

In Reply to: "Reverting to type" posted by Patty on August 30, 2001

: People sometimes use the expressions "now he is reveting to type" (he, she, ot it, actually). I have a feeling this may come originally from biology. Whether that is correct or not, what does it generally mean when people use it in more everyday conversation? Thanks. - Patty

In biology (genetics), it means reverting to the ANCESTRAL type, as happens in gardening when you choose a foliage plant because its variegated leaves are interesting, and after a couple of seasons they've all been replaced by new leaves that are that old boring solid green of the line the plant was bred from. In human affairs, people use the same phrase when somebody has disappointed them by failing to maintain an improvement in behavior over his or her former pattern.