The word atavistic has appeared in 10 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on March 21 in “The Robots Can’t Take Taxi-Whistling Away From Me” by Jon Gluck:
As proud as I am of my whistle, though, the truth is that it was never all that useful for hailing cabs, even when it ostensibly was. And someday soon, its nominal function will most likely go the way of the dodo, its demise brought on by ride-sharing apps and the ongoing loss of interest in all things that aren’t internet-enabled.
That’s fine with me. As I see it, the real pleasure of the taxi whistle is its outmodedness; the core of its charm is atavistic. In a world where virtually everything we do is mediated by technology, taxi-whistling is old-fashioned and physical: With just two fingers and one not even very deep breath, you can produce a delightful, if slightly shocking, noise. A loud, compelling statement — “Yo, over here!” — is always at the ready, literally at your fingertips. Nothing needs to be plugged in, charged or connected to a network. Not a single password (no passwords!) or two-factor authentication is required.
Daily Word Challenge
Can you correctly use the word atavistic in a sentence?
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