Definition of evolution
1 : one of a set of prescribed movements
2a : a process of change in a certain direction : unfoldingb : the action or an instance of forming and giving something off : emissionc (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 advanced : something evolved
3 : the process of working out or developing
4a : 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 Weintraubb : the historical development of a biological group (such as a race or species) : phylogeny
5 : the extraction of a mathematical root
6 : a process in which the whole universe is a progression of interrelated phenomena
evolutionarilyplay \ˌe-və-ˈlü-shə-ˌner-ə-lē, ˌē-və-\ adverb
evolutionaryplay \ˌe-və-ˈlü-shə-ˌner-ē, ˌē-və-\ adjective
evolutionismplay \ˌe-və-ˈlü-shə-ˌni-zəm, ˌē-və-\ noun
evolutionistplay \ˌe-və-ˈlü-sh(ə-)nist, 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 of evolution from the Web
The evolution of the Zelda franchise over the last 30 years is perhaps inimitable.
Six years ago, the owner of Evolution decided to sell the business, so the Espositos — who’ve owned Performance Solar for 20 years — bought it.
The 11-day trial became a bitter contest between religious fundamentalism and biological theory; the judge held, however, that only evidence on whether or not Scopes had taught evolution was admissible, and Scopes was convicted.
The evolution of the SCO looks set to continue, with Iranian membership gaining momentum and Turkey’s an increasing possibility.
That evolution is evident in the latest lot of award-show nominations.
Almost as important as James Brown in the evolution of American popular music, Clinton was a primary architect of funk in the 1970s.
Unsurprisingly, the president's zigzag health-care evolution can be traced in his tweets.
Palaeogenomes of Eurasian straight-tusked elephants challenge the current view of elephant evolution.
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.
Origin and Etymology of evolution
Latin evolution-, evolutio unrolling, from evolvere
First Known Use: 1616See Words from the same year
EVOLUTION Defined for Kids
Definition of evolution for Students
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
Medical Definition of evolution
1: a process of change in a certain direction tumor evolution and progression—I. J. Fidler et al
2a: the historical development of a biological group (as a race or species) : phylogenyb: a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations
Seen and Heard
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