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

Keep scrolling for more

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 It’s in the early stages of its evolution—not only for us, but for the industry as a whole. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, "Why go public amid a raging pandemic? Albertsons CEO explains," 27 June 2020 Even the impressive act of pulling a 1.25-million-pound train full of F-150s was not enough to convince some diehards that this was not an act of sacrilege, but the result of evolution. Maxwell B. Mortimer, Car and Driver, "See Some of the Ford F-150's Craziest Stunts and Maneuvers," 26 June 2020 Bill Gribbons, a professor of information design and corporate communication at Bentley University and director of the largest UX design graduate program in the US, approves of the evolution in the field. Anne Quito, Quartz, "The push to redefine “good design” amid the Black Lives Matter movement," 24 June 2020 The scientists compared geological observations of Pluto captured by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which flew by the dwarf planet in 2015, with various models of Pluto's origin and evolution. Charles Q. Choi, Scientific American, "Surprise! Pluto May Have Possessed a Subsurface Ocean at Birth," 23 June 2020 The V12-powered Islero represented the final step in the evolution of Lamborghini's first models, the 350 GT and the 400 GT. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "This entry-level Lamborghini offers more fun for a lot less money," 19 June 2020 In the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, Friday marks a small landmark. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "As New York Reaches a Coronavirus Landmark, Parts of Red America Are Facing a Potential Disaster," 19 June 2020 In 1987, the US Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law requiring any public school teaching the theory of evolution to teach creation science as well. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 19 June 2020 Biologists started to collect all specimens in a group of organisms, not just the most beautiful butterflies or birds, and discovered the general theory of evolution. Quanta Magazine, "The Two Forms of Mathematical Beauty," 16 June 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of evolution

1616, in the meaning defined at sense 6

History and Etymology for evolution

Latin evolution-, evolutio unrolling, from evolvere

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about evolution

Time Traveler for evolution

Time Traveler

The first known use of evolution was in 1616

See more words from the same year

Statistics for evolution

Last Updated

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Evolution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evolution. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on evolution

What made you want to look up evolution? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!