revolution

noun
rev·​o·​lu·​tion | \ ˌre-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce revolution (audio) \

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

Could a two-wheeled revolution be the antidote to our increasingly sedentary, tech-driven, risk-averse indoor lifestyle? Katie Arnold, Outside Online, "A New Film Heralds the Coming Cargo-Bike Revolution," 12 Sep. 2019 Loads of people thought there was going to be some violent revolution. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "Connecting Charles Manson’s music to the murders," 14 Aug. 2019 Apprendi set off a revolution in criminal sentencing law that continues today. oregonlive, "John Paul Stevens, longtime leader of Supreme Court’s liberal wing, dies at 99," 16 July 2019 And so, tensions grew and protests erupted before the Romanov family ultimately lost control of the growing revolution in 1917. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "The Romanov Family: The True Story Behind Netflix’s New Miniseries, 'The Last Czars'," 3 July 2019 Along with the legacy of their defeat of Somoza’s National Guard in 1979, the Sandinistas presided over striking improvements in health and education during the early years of the revolution. Jeffrey L. Gould, The New Republic, "Making Sense of Bernie’s Sandinista Sympathies," 6 June 2019 Victory for Mr Biden, then for Mr Trump—that would be a poor return on Mr Sanders’s promise of political revolution. The Economist, "Bernie Sanders’s permanent revolution," 15 Aug. 2019 For the first couple of decades of the digital revolution, programs were designed to run on individual machines. Cal Newport, The New Yorker, "Was E-mail a Mistake?," 6 Aug. 2019 By the late 1990s, there was little doubt that adults were not in control of the digital revolution. Kate Eichhorn, WIRED, "Social Media Could Make It Impossible to Grow Up," 8 July 2019

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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Statistics for revolution

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for revolution

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 How to pronounce revolution (audio) \

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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Comments on revolution

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