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in biology, the similarities in function, but differences in evolutionary origin, of body structures in different organisms. For example, the wing of a bird is analogous to the wing of an insect, since both are used for flight. However, there is no common ancestral origin in the evolution of these structures: While the wings of birds are modified skeletal forelimbs, insect wings are extensions of the body wall. Although insects and birds do have a very remote common ancestry (more than 600 million years ago), the wings of the two groups evolved after their ancestries had separated. See also homologyhomology
, in biology, the correspondence between structures of different species that is attributable to their evolutionary descent from a common ancestor. For example, the forelimbs of vertebrates, such as the wing of bird or bat, and the foreleg of an amphibian, are
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a comparison made to show a degree of similarity, but not an exact identity, between phenomena. In sociology, analogies are often made between social phenomena and mechanical or organic phenomena. This can be seen in classical forms of sociological functionalism in which societies are often seen as ‘machine-like’ or, more usually, ‘organism-like’ entities whose parts interrelate and reinforce each other. Although sometimes useful, and perhaps even indispensable in any science, recourse to analogies is often suspect. Assumptions made or relationships imputed (e.g. ‘social needs’ analogous with ‘animal needs’) require separate justification. The use of analogies therefore always involves risks. See MODEL.



a similarity in some respects between objects, phenomena, processes, and so forth. In conclusions drawn by analogy, knowledge gained from the examination of a certain object, known as “the model” is transferred to another object which is less well studied in certain aspects—less accessible to experiment, less discernible, and so forth. In relation to concrete objects, conclusions drawn by analogy are, generally speaking, only probabilistic; they are one of the sources of scientific hypotheses and inductive reasoning and play an important role in scientific discoveries. If, on the other hand, the inferences drawn by analogy relate to abstract objects, then under certain conditions (in particular, with the establishment of isomorphic or homomorphic relations between them) they are capable of yielding determinate conclusions.


Aristotle. Analitiki pervaia i vtoraia. Moscow, 1952.
Asmus, V. F. Logika. Moscow, 1947.
Mill, J. S. Sistema logiki sillogicheskoi i induktivnoi, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1914. (Translated from English.)
Polya, G. Matematika i pravdopodobnye rassuzhdeniia. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from English.)
Uemov, A. I. “Osnovnye formy i pravila vyvodov po analogii.” In Problemy logiki nauchnogo Poznaniia. Moscow, 1964.
Venikov, V. A. Teoriia podobiia i modelirovanie primeniteVno k zadacham elektroenergetiki. Moscow, 1966.
Corafas, D. N. Sistemy imoderlirovanie. Moscow, 1967. (Translated from English.)



1. Biology the relationship between analogous organs or parts
2. Logic maths a form of reasoning in which a similarity between two or more things is inferred from a known similarity between them in other respects
References in classic literature ?
He made use of every kind of mental device, except analogy, and passed too boldly, it seemed to Prince Andrew, from one to another.
There was also some slight analogy to a huge coffin.
The analogy did not occur to her, but something else did as she saw the flushed face and fever wracked body of the man whose appeal to her she would have thought purely physical had she given the subject any analytic consideration; and as a realization of his utter helplessness came to her she bent over him and kissed first his forehead and then his lips.
condescend to their limitation and to indicate the situation by the use of a homely analogy which will be within the limits of the intelligence of your readers.
As Cornelius van Baerle was concerned in the growing of tulips and in the pursuit of politics at one and the same time, the prisoner is of hybrid character, of an amphibious organisation, working with equal ardour at politics and at tulips, which proves him to belong to the class of men most dangerous to public tranquillity, and shows a certain, or rather a complete, analogy between his character and that of those master minds of which Tarquin the Elder and the Great Conde have been felicitously quoted as examples.
The jays clamored loudly, and the trees whispered darkly, as before; and I somehow traced in the two sounds a fanciful analogy to the open boastfulness of Mr.
No fragments which can be identified as belonging to the first period survive to give us even a general idea of the history of the earliest epic, and we are therefore thrown back upon the evidence of analogy from other forms of literature and of inference from the two great epics which have come down to us.
Yet, like other philosophers, he is willing to admit that 'probability is the guide of life (Butler's Analogy.
Very many of the marine inhabitants of the archipelago now range thousands of miles beyond its confines; and analogy leads me to believe that it would be chiefly these far-ranging species which would oftenest produce new varieties; and the varieties would at first generally be local or confined to one place, but if possessed of any decided advantage, or when further modified and improved, they would slowly spread and supplant their parent-forms.
He is made to admit that justice is a thief, and that the virtues follow the analogy of the arts.
Now there is no one circumstance in which the distempers of the mind bear a more exact analogy to those which are called bodily, than that aptness which both have to a relapse.
Is it possible, I wonder, that there was any analogy between the case of the Coketown population and the case of the little Gradgrinds?