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

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 The future and evolution of psychedelic creatures on the Earth are very uncertain and precarious. Jahan Marcu, Rolling Stone, 7 Jan. 2022 Finally, closing out the NVIDIA keynote the company offered an update on the evolution and adoption of its Drive Hyperion platform for autonomous cars and trucks. Dave Altavilla, Forbes, 4 Jan. 2022 But between variant evolution and waning immunity, that’s not to say the virus won’t still lead to significant casualties in that endemic future. Megan Molteni, STAT, 30 Dec. 2021 Identifying species and the process by which new species emerge from fossils falls in the realm of macroevolution, or evolution over broad time scales. Briana Pobiner And Ryan Mcrae, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Dec. 2021 Scant attention is given to instruments’ evolution and influence, nor is there any illumination of musical styles associated with various periods and cultures. Edward Rothstein, WSJ, 28 Dec. 2021 His notion that genetics and evolution play a role in social behavior was challenged by those who claimed his ideas justified some forms of discrimination. Wire Reports, oregonlive, 27 Dec. 2021 This pristine view into the origin and evolution of organic matter represents the most primordial material available in Earth laboratories to date, the researchers said. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 20 Dec. 2021 The strongest works on view provide vibrant testimony about the city’s cultural, physical, and social evolution. Steven Litt, cleveland, 12 Dec. 2021

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

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

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Time Traveler for evolution

Time Traveler

The first known use of evolution was in 1616

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Dictionary Entries Near evolution

evolute

evolution

evolutional

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Statistics for evolution

Last Updated

14 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Evolution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evolution. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on evolution

Nglish: Translation of evolution for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of evolution for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about evolution

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