evolution

noun
evo·​lu·​tion | \ ˌe-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce evolution (audio) , ˌē-və-\

Definition of evolution

1a : 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 race or species) : phylogeny
2a : 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

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Other Words from evolution

evolutionarily \ ˌe-​və-​ˈlü-​shə-​ˌner-​ə-​lē How to pronounce evolutionarily (audio) , ˌē-​və-​ \ adverb
evolutionary \ ˌe-​və-​ˈlü-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce evolutionary (audio) , ˌē-​və-​ \ adjective
evolutionism \ ˌe-​və-​ˈlü-​shə-​ˌni-​zəm How to pronounce evolutionism (audio) , ˌē-​və-​ \ noun
evolutionist \ ˌe-​və-​ˈlü-​sh(ə-​)nist How to pronounce evolutionist (audio) , ˌē-​və-​ \ 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

Aside from his many contributions to the evolution of modern science, Galileo Galilei is also famous for defying the 17th century Catholic church. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Newfound Galileo Letter Suggests He Lied to Dupe the Church and Avoid Persecution," 25 Sep. 2018 The primary exception, beyond Kirby games, was Donkey Kong Country 3, which absolutely felt like a cash-in reuse of existing assets as opposed to a hardware-pushing evolution of the series. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "WarioWare Gold: A fine example of Nintendo’s weird “end of life” history," 3 Aug. 2018 Well, protest is central to the evolution of black American culture. Fox News, "Author Shelby Steele on race relations, equality in America," 16 July 2018 Over the past few decades, archaeological theory has shifted toward the idea that civilization arose in different regions around the world thanks to the evolution of cooperation. Charles Stanish, Smithsonian, "How Feasting Rituals Help Shape Human Civilization," 5 July 2018 So who knows, modern climate change may also do interesting things to the evolution of the parasite. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Climate Change Made Zombie Ants Even More Cunning," 29 May 2018 Throughout her basketball career, Taurasi has had a front row seat to the evolution of the WNBA and women’s game. Dania Haughton, SI.com, "Diana Taurasi and the Path to Longevity and Legacy," 28 May 2018 Despite its invisibility, dark matter has been critical to the evolution of our universe and to the emergence of stars, planets and even life. Lisa Randall, Scientific American, "What Is Dark Matter?," 8 May 2018 Burger Fiction has made a number of these sorts of compilations of everything from major Academy Award categories to the evolution of characters and actors over the history of cinema, to big franchise catch-ups. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Catch up on the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 17 minutes before Avengers: Infinity War," 28 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'evolution.' 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 evolution

1616, in the meaning defined at sense 6

History and Etymology for evolution

Latin evolution-, evolutio unrolling, from evolvere

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Statistics for evolution

Last Updated

26 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for evolution

The first known use of evolution was in 1616

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More Definitions for evolution

evolution

noun
evo·​lu·​tion | \ ˌe-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce evolution (audio) , ˌē-və-\

Kids Definition of evolution

1 : the theory that the various kinds of existing animals and plants have come from kinds that existed in the past
2 : the process of development of an animal or a plant

evolution

noun
evo·​lu·​tion | \ ˌev-ə-ˈlü-shən also ˌē-və-\

Medical Definition of evolution

1 : a process of change in a certain direction tumor evolution and progression— I. J. Fidler et al.
2a : 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

Other Words from evolution

evolutionarily \ -​shə-​ˌner-​ə-​lē How to pronounce evolutionarily (audio) \ adverb
evolutionary \ -​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce evolutionary (audio) \ adjective

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