In general, polymorphism describes multiple possible states for a single property.
Polymorphism can be:
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- In materials science polymorphism is the ability of a solid material to exist in more than one form or crystal structure. Diamond and graphite are examples of polymorphs of carbon. α-ferrite, austenite, and δ-ferrite are polymorphs of iron. When found in elemental solids the condition is also called Allotropy.
- In biology multiple alleles of a gene within a population, usually expressing different phenotypes, are called polymorphism. For instance, human skin color is polymorphic.
- In computer programming, polymorphism is allowing types and implementations to be anything as long as certain contracts are maintained.