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

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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 Even without that doomsday outcome, rewriting contracts that refer to Libor is fraught with byzantine convolutions. Washington Post, "The Short Road From Libor’s Death to `Armageddon’," 9 July 2019 Bold, snicker-out-loud funny, magnetic and unsettling through its power-struggle convolutions, this production musically and dramatically fills the company’s looming proscenium. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, "Review: The Met Opera Is Handel’s House in ‘Agrippina’," 7 Feb. 2020 Could the show have gotten away without the convolutions required to make Aaron an actual jailhouse lawyer, when Wright only got his degree and passed the bar after ending his incarceration? Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'For Life': TV Review," 11 Feb. 2020 Conventional deep learning algorithms for video recognition perform a 3D operation (known as a convolution) on multiple video frames at once. Wired, "This Technique Can Make It Easier for AI to Understand Videos," 15 Oct. 2019 MiB: International at least avoids the dizzying time-travel convolutions that marred the third installment in this franchise, plus there are a number of amusing callbacks to the prior films. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Men in Black: International is a solid addition to the popular franchise," 14 June 2019 Today, one of the most popular digital techniques is called convolution reverb, which uses recordings of the acoustics of real spaces to produce highly realistic simulations of those spaces. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Cave acoustics can help sculpt more realistic sounds in digital space," 14 Nov. 2018 It’s hard to keep up with the convolutions of the Brexit debate in Britain. Stephen Fidler, WSJ, "The Tortuous Road to a Brexit Customs Deal," 12 May 2018 There are many more convolutions to the predicted end of the world, which the Express outlines in confusing and befuddling detail. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "No, the world isn't ending later this month. We hope.," 13 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of convolution

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for convolution

see convolute

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Learn More about convolution

Time Traveler for convolution

Time Traveler

The first known use of convolution was in 1545

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Statistics for convolution

Last Updated

7 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Convolution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for convolution


How to pronounce convolution (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of convolution

: something that is very complicated and difficult to understand
: a twist or curve


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 convolutional (audio) \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on convolution

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for convolution

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with convolution

Britannica English: Translation of convolution for Arabic Speakers

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