b : to fall or be passed usually as a responsibility or obligation
2 : to come by or as if by flowing down
3 : to degenerate through a gradual change or evolution
Did You Know?
Devolve evolved from Latin volvere, a word that means "to roll." The prefix de- means "down." (Other words that revolve around volvere are the five other words containing -vol- found in this paragraph.) Knowing which preposition to use with devolve can seem a bit involved, but it's really not all that convoluted. Responsibility or rights devolve "on," "upon," or "to" someone. When something comes into a present state by flowing down from a source, either literally or figuratively, we say "devolve from," as in "customs that devolve from old beliefs." And when the devolving is a downward evolution to a lower state we say "devolves into" (or sometimes "devolves to"), as in "order devolves into chaos."
Over time, the weekly book club meeting devolved into mean-spirited gossip sessions.
"… with whiplash speed, this heart-warming tale has devolved into an internet-fueled soap opera." — Craig Schneider, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 31 July 2016
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
Fill in the blanks to create a noun derived from Latin volvere that refers to a spiral or scroll-shaped form: v _ lu _ _.VIEW THE ANSWER
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