revolution

noun
rev·​o·​lu·​tion | \ ˌre-və-ˈlü-shən \

Definition of revolution 

1a(1) : the action by a celestial body of going round in an orbit or elliptical course also : apparent movement of such a body round the earth
(2) : the time taken by a celestial body to make a complete round in its orbit
(3) : the rotation of a celestial body on its axis
b : completion of a course (as of years) also : the period made by the regular succession of a measure of time or by a succession of similar events
c(1) : a progressive motion of a body around an axis so that any line of the body parallel to the axis returns to its initial position while remaining parallel to the axis in transit and usually at a constant distance from it
(2) : motion of any figure about a center or axis revolution of a right triangle about one of its legs generates a cone
2a : a sudden, radical, or complete change
b : a fundamental change in political organization especially : the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed
c : activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation
d : a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something : a change of paradigm the Copernican revolution
e : a changeover in use or preference especially in technology the computer revolution the foreign car revolution

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Choose the Right Synonym for revolution

rebellion, revolution, uprising, revolt, insurrection, mutiny mean an outbreak against authority. rebellion implies an open formidable resistance that is often unsuccessful. open rebellion against the officers revolution applies to a successful rebellion resulting in a major change (as in government). a political revolution that toppled the monarchy uprising implies a brief, limited, and often immediately ineffective rebellion. quickly put down the uprising revolt and insurrection imply an armed uprising that quickly fails or succeeds. a revolt by the Young Turks that surprised party leaders an insurrection of oppressed laborers mutiny applies to group insubordination or insurrection especially against naval authority. a mutiny led by the ship's cook

Revolution and Revolt

Revolution and revolt have a shared origin, both ultimately going back to the Latin revolvere “to revolve, roll back.” When revolution first appeared in English in the 14th century, it referred to the movement of a celestial body in orbit; that sense was extended to “a progressive motion of a body around an axis,” “completion of a course,” and other senses suggesting regularity of motion or a predictable return to an original position. At virtually the same time, the word developed a sharply different meaning, namely, ”a sudden radical, or complete change,” apparently from the idea of reversal of direction implicit in the Latin verb. Revolt , which initially meant “to renounce allegiance,” grew from the same idea of “rolling back,” in this case from a prior bond of loyalty.

Examples of revolution in a Sentence

The group started a revolution. The king knew that there was a threat of revolution. This new theory could cause a revolution in elementary education. the revolution of the Earth around the Sun The period of revolution of the Earth around the Sun is equal to one year. The Earth makes one revolution on its axis in about 24 hours. This motor operates at a speed of 5,000 revolutions per minute.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Bannonites seem to have forgotten Edmund Burke’s lesson that while the English and Americans do revolutions well, the same can’t be said of the French. F.h. Buckley, WSJ, "Trump May Be the True Liberal," 31 Dec. 2018 This miniaturization revolution has not come to robotic landers and rovers—yet. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA closes call for small payloads to study the surface of the Moon," 22 Nov. 2018 But the bigger ideas about corporate governance would be a revolution in American business practice to undo about a generation’s worth of shareholder supremacy. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Top House Democrats join Elizabeth Warren’s push to fundamentally change American capitalism," 14 Dec. 2018 Uber/Jump Bikes Ride-hailing giant Uber, which helped jumpstart the ongoing revolution in mobile technology and urban transit by popularizing a new way to move about cities, has decided cars aren’t always the best way to get around. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Uber makes $10M bet on bikes and transit," 26 Sep. 2018 In fact, her now legendary ascent to aerobics guru—starting in 1982 with Jane Fonda's Workout, which launched a home-exercise revolution—was in service to her side hustle. Seth Plattner, Glamour, "Jane Fonda: ‘I'm Not Apologizing for Being a Celebrity Anymore’," 17 Sep. 2018 Those minicomputer giants mostly failed to adapt to the PC and Internet revolutions, and the region wasn't able to nurture a new crop of technology giants to take their place. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Massachusetts gives workers new protections against noncompete clauses," 21 Aug. 2018 In this op-ed, Denise Bidot, one of the founding members of the body positivity revolution, calls on the fashion industry to promote inclusivity in swimwear — not as a passing trend, but as an enduring movement. Denise Bidot, Teen Vogue, "Chromat Debuts Pool Rules Campaign Featuring Denise Bidot, Mama Cax, and More," 12 July 2018 Most of them are recognizably monumental, commemorating historical events (the war, the revolution), historical figures (politicians, revolutionary heroes) and historical artists (composers, writers). Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "Move Over, Lenin: Make Room for the Computer Keyboard," 3 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for revolution

Middle English revolucioun, from Middle French revolution, from Late Latin revolution-, revolutio, from Latin revolvere to revolve

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2019

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The first known use of revolution was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for revolution

revolution

noun

English Language Learners Definition of revolution

: the usually violent attempt by many people to end the rule of one government and start a new one

: a sudden, extreme, or complete change in the way people live, work, etc.

: the action of moving around something in a path that is similar to a circle

revolution

noun
rev·​o·​lu·​tion | \ ˌre-və-ˈlü-shən \

Kids Definition of revolution

1 : the action by a heavenly body of going round in a fixed course The revolution of the earth around the sun marks one year.
2 : a spinning motion around a center or axis : rotation A light push started the globe's revolution.
3 : a single complete turn (as of a wheel) The earth makes one revolution on its axis in 24 hours.
4 : a sudden, extreme, or complete change (as in manner of living or working)
5 : the overthrow of a ruler or government by violent action

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