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

(3) : rotation sense 1b

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

Ever since the Reagan revolution, Democrats have had a sickening feeling that their core idea about government is unsellable. The Economist, "Fork in the roadShould the party move to the left or to the centre?," 12 July 2018 Presidential and parliamentary elections have been held since Tunisia's 2011 revolution that triggered the Arab Spring. Fox News, "Tunisia: Independents draw most votes in local elections," 11 May 2018 The financial situation of blue-collar Iranians hasn’t improved much in the nearly four decades since the revolution. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "Labor Strikes and Worker Protests Erupt Across Iran: ‘This is Slavery’," 6 May 2018 Clandestina, which is featured in Startup Cuba, could be considered Cuba's first private fashion brand. since the revolution. Mimi Whitefield, miamiherald, "New series documents the challenges of private startup enterprises in Cuba | Miami Herald," 12 Apr. 2018 Acting to maximize the societal benefits of ride-hailing and other transportation revolutions will provide benefits now and into the future. Daniel Sperling, Scientific American, "Can Ride-Hailing Improve Public Transportation Instead of Undercutting It?," 5 July 2018 But as the Declaration makes clear, the reasons for revolution went beyond ending something bad. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "The new trustbusters," 3 July 2018 Analytics and an overwhelming data revolution have strengthened the sport in many ways – but reduced more players to fungible assets. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "MLB players survey: Sounding off on umps, shifts, steroids - and whether to strike back," 28 June 2018 In this post-revolution season, the hosts split into various factions. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Puzzled by Westworld? Look to Shakespeare.," 26 June 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

30 Oct 2018

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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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