evolution

noun

evo·​lu·​tion ˌe-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce evolution (audio) ˌē-və- How to pronounce evolution (audio)
1
a
: descent with modification from preexisting species : cumulative inherited change in a population of organisms through time leading to the appearance of new forms : the process by which new species or populations of living things develop from preexisting forms through successive generations
Evolution is a process of continuous branching and diversification from common trunks. This pattern of irreversible separation gives life's history its basic directionality.Stephen Jay Gould
also : the scientific theory explaining the appearance of new species and varieties through the action of various biological mechanisms (such as natural selection, genetic mutation or drift, and hybridization)
Since 1950, developments in molecular biology have had a growing influence on the theory of evolution. Nature
In Darwinian evolution, the basic mechanism is genetic mutation, followed by selection of the organisms most likely to survive. Pamela Weintraub
b
: the historical development of a biological group (such as a species) : phylogeny
2
a
: a process of change in a certain direction : unfolding
b
: the action or an instance of forming and giving something off : emission
c(1)
: a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state : growth
(2)
: a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance
d
: something evolved
3
: the process of working out or developing
4
: the extraction of a mathematical root
5
: a process in which the whole universe is a progression of interrelated phenomena
6
: one of a set of prescribed movements
evolutionarily adverb
evolutionary adjective
evolutionism noun
evolutionist noun or adjective

Examples of evolution in a Sentence

changes brought about by evolution an important step in the evolution of computers
Recent Examples on the Web Tell me about your evolution as collaborators over the years. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 1 Mar. 2024 Now in its 60th year, the IATA Annual Safety Report - compiled by the International Air Transport Association - has been tracking the evolution of commercial aviation safety since 1964. Maureen O'Hare, CNN, 29 Feb. 2024 The play traces the evolution of our country’s economy, arcing in parallel with a great American dynasty. Sophia Nguyen, Washington Post, 29 Feb. 2024 Its patterns of spread, its evolution, and the durability of our immunity against it all may continue to change. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 28 Feb. 2024 The host and showrunner says that is partly a result of the 18 people selected for this round of reality TV glory, but also may be due to the simple evolution of the game. Dalton Ross, EW.com, 28 Feb. 2024 Powering the model is the next evolution of GP’s caliber GP01800. Cait Bazemore, Robb Report, 27 Feb. 2024 The million-dollar test kitchen is sure to see future evolutions. Ella Gonzales, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 27 Feb. 2024 In the business world, Google stands as a paragon of evolution, transforming from a humble search engine into a global tech giant. John Hall, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'evolution.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from New Latin ēvolūtiōn-, ēvolūtiō "unfolding of a curve (in geometry), emergence from an enclosing structure, historical development," going back to Medieval Latin, "unfolding of a tale, lapse of time," going back to Latin, "unrolling of a papyrus scroll while reading it," from ēvolū-, variant stem of ēvolvere "to roll out or away, unwind, unroll" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at evolve

First Known Use

1616, in the meaning defined at sense 6

Time Traveler
The first known use of evolution was in 1616

Dictionary Entries Near evolution

Cite this Entry

“Evolution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evolution. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

evolution

noun
ev·​o·​lu·​tion
ˌev-ə-ˈlü-shən,
ˌē-və-
1
a
: a process of change in a certain direction
especially : a process of constant change from a lower or simple state to a higher or complex state : growth
b
: something evolved
2
: the process of working out or developing
3
a
: the process by which new species or populations of living things develop from preexisting forms through successive generations
b
: the scientific theory explaining the appearance of new species and varieties through the action of various biological mechanisms (as natural selection or genetic mutation)
evolutionary
-shə-ˌner-ē
adjective

Medical Definition

evolution

noun
evo·​lu·​tion
ˌev-ə-ˈlü-shən also ˌē-və-
1
: a process of change in a certain direction
tumor evolution and progressionI. J. Fidler et al.
2
a
: descent with modification from preexisting species : cumulative inherited change in a population of organisms through time leading to the appearance of new forms : the process by which new species or populations of living things develop from preexisting forms through successive generations
also : the scientific theory explaining the appearance of new species and varieties through the action of various biological mechanisms (as natural selection, genetic mutation or drift, and hybridization)
Since 1950, developments in molecular biology have had a growing influence on the theory of evolution. Nature
b
: the historical development of a biological group (as a race or species) : phylogeny
evolutionarily adverb
evolutionary adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on evolution

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