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 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 evolution (audio) , ˌē-​və-​ \ adverb
evolutionary \ ˌe-​və-​ˈlü-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce evolution (audio) , ˌē-​və-​ \ adjective
evolutionism \ ˌe-​və-​ˈlü-​shə-​ˌni-​zəm How to pronounce evolution (audio) , ˌē-​və-​ \ noun
evolutionist \ ˌe-​və-​ˈlü-​sh(ə-​)nist How to pronounce evolution (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 If menopause is a recent phenomenon, then scientists have a harder time arguing that postmenopausal grandmothers have so strongly shaped human evolution. Elizabeth Landau, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Much Did Grandmothers Influence Human Evolution?," 4 Jan. 2021 Zabka loves the bond the characters share and believes the part of Miguel is a vital catalyst for Johnny's evolution. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "'Cobra Kai': Zabka on Johnny 'shedding his skin' of the dojo, Kove on Kreese's origin story," 1 Jan. 2021 Ennos gently chides primatologists, his sometimes-collaborators, for hesitancy to embrace this provocative connection between nest-making and human evolution. Washington Post, "How wood shaped human history, from spears to boats to books," 31 Dec. 2020 There are various theories as to why humans started to wear clothing in the first place, but display and adornment probably became important functions early in clothing’s evolution. Marc Bain, Quartz, "The shelter-at-home era poses a fundamental challenge to fashion," 29 Dec. 2020 Jim Baumbick, senior product-development executive on both projects, said Tuesday while all vehicles have a natural evolution, these were unique in that they were connected to two iconic brands. Star Tribune, "No one knew secret behind Ford's Mustang Mach-E, Bronco Sport — until now," 29 Dec. 2020 The answer lies in a gift bestowed on the brain by evolution: tremendous adaptability. David Eagleman, Time, "Why Do We Dream? A New Theory on How It Protects Our Brains," 29 Dec. 2020 The shows are part of an evolution in audio storytelling that is blurring the lines between podcasts, radio dramas and audiobooks. Chris Kornelis, WSJ, "From Demi Moore to Matthew McConaughey, Screen Stars Are Turning to Podcasts," 25 Dec. 2020 Set to Mendelssohn’s glorious tune, the song has seen a lyrical evolution under the influence of different contributors — Charles Wesley (1739) and George Whitefield (1758) — and is in that respect, if nothing else, quite folky! Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "A Christmas Playlist," 25 Dec. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for evolution

Time Traveler

The first known use of evolution was in 1616

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Statistics for evolution

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Evolution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evolution. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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 evolution (audio) \ adverb
evolutionary \ -​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce evolution (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on evolution

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