Main Entry: evo·lu·tion Pronunciation Guide
Pronunciation: evlüshn also v- or -vlyü-
Inflected Form(s): -s
Etymology: Latin evolution-, evolutio act of unrolling, from evolutus + -ion-, -io -ion
1 a : a series of related changes in a certain direction : process of change : organic development : UNFOLDING, MOVEMENT, TRANSFORMATION <the evolution of his hair has been from brown to gray, to bald -- Current Biography> <the evolution of a complicated plot> <it should be remembered that even in the biological world, evolution is not always in the direction of progress -- A.B.Novikoff> <the evolution of the seasons> <there has been much discussion as to ... the possible evolution of benign adenomas into invasive carcinoma -- Journal American Medical Association> b (1) : a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse condition to a higher, more complex, or better state : progressive development : GROWTH, PROGRESS <the evolution of the capitalist forms of business organization, from primitive units to the modern corporation -- W.C.Scoville> <the evolution from childhood to manhood> <the evolution of physics from Galileo to Einstein> <the evolution of the rifle> (2) : a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance or amelioration -- often contrasted with revolution <a British pattern of change by evolution ... which contrasts with less attractive changes by revolution in other countries -- Current History> c : the end product of an evolutionary process : something that is evolved <economically it is an evolution of the ancient system of barter -- Encyc. Americana> <the style of the King James version ... is ... an evolution ... , the resultant of a long selective process -- J.L.Lowes>
2 : one of a set of prescribed movements or motions (as those of a skater, dancer, a body of troops, a fleet, or other formation) : any movement designed to effect a new arrangement by passing from one position to another : MANEUVER <evolutions of the eight pink bridesmaids and the eight black ushers -- Edith Wharton>
3 : the process of working out or developing (as an idea, design, or theme) <the greatest task facing agricultural scientists in this region is the evolution of an adaptable farming system -- Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)>
4 mathematics : the extraction of roots -- opposed to involution
5 a (1) archaic : the development of an organism by gradual unfolding of parts (as in the growth of a plant from a seed) (2) : the presumed process of development in which a germ containing the adult parts in miniature was stimulated to differentiate by the action of fertilization -- opposed to epigenesis; compare ENCASEMENT b : the development of a race, species, or other group : PHYLOGENY : the process by which through a series of changes or steps any living organism or group of organisms has acquired the morphological and physiological characters which distinguish it : the theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types, the distinguishable differences being due to modifications in successive generations -- compare DARWINISM, HEREDITY, MUTATION, NATURAL SELECTION, VARIATION, WEISMANNISM
6 a : the progressive development of civilization and social institutions in a fixed sequence of stages -- called also unilinear evolution; see EVOLUTIONISM b : a process of cultural change determined especially by technological factors and marked by a movement from simplicity to complexity and the gradual increase of man's control over his environment
7 a : the process of the whole universe conceived as a progression of interrelated phenomena b : the theory of such progression -- compare EMERGENT EVOLUTION, SPENCERIANISM
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