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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The French know the difference between real revolution and a weekend punch-up with the riot police. Philip Delves Broughton, WSJ, "‘Twilight of the Elites’ Review: On the Outskirts of ‘Higher France’," 28 Jan. 2019 Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai, India The nineteenth century saw the beginning of an architectural revolution in Mumbai, and the Oval Maidan—a public lawn frequented by cricket players in the southern part of the city—was the epicenter. Condé Nast Traveler, "The 19 Newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites," 10 July 2018 After an awkward interaction with another adult beauty queen, Willowdean decides to compete in Miss Teen Blue Bonnet, which sparks a revolution in her town. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Here's Your First Look at Netflix's New "Dumplin'' Movie," 6 Dec. 2018 The legacy of change and revolution in this country has happened by force. Clarissa Brooks, Teen Vogue, "Nonvoters Have Valid Criticisms of the United States Government," 16 Nov. 2018 Lately, there has been something of a revolution in cooking, as a new generation of chefs is blending classic dishes with the latest gastro-trends. András Szántó, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Budapest Is Europe's Unlikely Capital of Hedonism," 29 Aug. 2018 The last decade or so has seen a revolution in American energy production, however, led by techniques including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling. David Koenig, Anchorage Daily News, "US soon to leapfrog Saudis, Russia as top oil producer," 12 July 2018 Brief scenes of King Louis discussing France’s financial aid to the revolution in America are an injection of reality more jarring than informative given the claustrophobic nature of the protagonist’s existence. refinery29.com, "Why Marie Antoinette Is Really Mean Girls, Versailles Edition," 10 July 2018 The seasoned diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO has no illusions about the reasons for the slaughter, which began after a revolution in Ukraine brought a pro-Western government to power in Kiev. Simon Shuster, Time, "Trump's Envoy to Ukraine Urges U.S. Not to Forget Russia's War as Putin Summit Looms," 9 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about revolution

Share revolution

Statistics for revolution

Last Updated

6 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for revolution

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on revolution

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to deny responsibility for

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!