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analogy, 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 homology.

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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.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
All the various biographical accounts of Shibli seem to somewhat agree at least on one point: that there was a change in Shibli's initial position both regarding his step-mother and, as we will see analogically, towards English.
Thus, with the word embeo 'cold' women are analogically revealed in terms of warmth; hence the verb ndia 'I eat' metaphorically reveals sex in terms of food and the verb ngachula 'I talk' contextualizes sex in terms of talk or an exchange.
Derrida opposes an "apophatic" reading of deconstruction in his essay "How to Avoid Speaking" (1986) (Murphy's translation: "How Not to Speak"), and resurrects the Platonic notion of khora to draw attention to "difference at the origin." Murphy then demonstrates that the only real difference between Derrida and Balthasar is that Derrida ultimately eschews the power of analogy in his call for "intertextuality," whereas Balthasar "will not dispense with supporting the theological implications inherently proposed by intertextuality," instead viewing intertextuality analogically as a sort of "cosmological model" (Murphy 21-23).
Analogically to calcium levels, serum magnesium levels significantly increased after a short-term exposure to lead compared to baseline.
Reasoning analogically as in the case of point M we obtained following expression of electric field strength [E.sub.Q] in the point Q
Analogically, just as the efficacy of a medicine becomes known when a sick person is healed, likewise, an accepted Haj manifests itself in the change that takes place in the condition of the pilgrim to an extent that is pleasing to Allah the Almighty.
Analogically, migration of talented and ambitious investigators to the best centers of research has been a longstanding feature of science.
In the latter case *v was a hiatus-preventing glide that was inserted in order to avoid the sequence **uu or was analogically transferred from forms with other vowel-initial endings (e.g., babhuvathur).
The fact that a work of art's "sense" is (supposedly) present and can be (supposedly) grasped only analogically opens the Pandora's box of all sorts of conjectural speculations on the nature, conditions and elements of this analogy.
A similar function of shell colouration has been supposed analogically for extinct nautiloids.
This being the case, it might be fun as well as illuminating to proceed analogically and apply to Atlantic history the divisions established by Jaques in his famous "seven ages of man" speech in Act 11, Scene 7 of Shakespeare's As You Like It.