con·​vo·​lu·​tion | \ ˌkän-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce convolution (audio) \

Definition of convolution

1 : a form or shape that is folded in curved or tortuous windings the convolutions of the intestines
2 : one of the irregular ridges on the surface of the brain and especially of the cerebrum of higher mammals
3 : a complication or intricacy of form, design, or structure … societies in which the convolutions of power and the caprices of the powerful are ever-present dangers to survival.— Mary Lee Settle

Examples of convolution in a Sentence

I found it hard to follow the convolutions of the book's plot. a plot full of convolution and confusion
Recent Examples on the Web But the demand for and mere existence of private companies whose sole mission is to help veterans navigate the process underscores the complexity, convolution, and dysfunction of the VA system. Patrick Gleason, Forbes, 5 July 2022 This essence of choice and ambiguity and convolution is what Sondheim gave to theater—the idea that there’s infinitely more contained within the tragicomedy of human experience than can ever be set to music and sung on a stage. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 30 Nov. 2021 The very nature of a comprehensive chronicle of large-scale geographic, political, financial, religious and lineal conniving and convolution is necessarily complicated and dry, whether as history or counterhistory. New York Times, 14 Sep. 2021 But the plot, though refreshingly free of the convolution and digital clutter that marred several other recent blockbusters, is pretty standard stuff. Kyle Smith, National Review, 4 Aug. 2021 The text of the questions is clear and respectful, with no strategy of manipulation by convolution or flattery demeaning to a person as judicious, intelligent, and good-looking as me. David Hajdu, The New Yorker, 26 June 2021 None of this complexity or convolution would be required if the commission’s mandate was merely to draw Michigan’s legislative districts in a fair-minded, neutral and nonpartisan manner. Stephen Markman, WSJ, 25 June 2021 This process turns out to be much more computationally straightforward than DeepONet’s and is akin to solving a PDE by performing a hairy mathematical operation called a convolution between the PDE and some other function. Quanta Magazine, 19 Apr. 2021 Each NeuronCore implements a high-performance systolic array matrix multiply engine, which massively speeds up typical deep learning operations such as convolution and transformers. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, 13 Nov. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'convolution.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of convolution

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for convolution

borrowed from Medieval Latin convolūtiōn-, convolūtiō "a folding," from Latin convolū-, variant stem of convolvere "to roll up, coil, twist" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at convolve

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Time Traveler for convolution

Time Traveler

The first known use of convolution was in 1545

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Dictionary Entries Near convolution

convoluted tubule



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Statistics for convolution

Last Updated

12 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Convolution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for convolution


con·​vo·​lu·​tion | \ ˌkän-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce convolution (audio) \

Medical Definition of convolution

: any of the irregular ridges on the surface of the brain and especially of the cerebrum

called also gyrus

— compare sulcus

Other Words from convolution

convolutional \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl How to pronounce convolution (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on convolution

Britannica English: Translation of convolution for Arabic Speakers


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