evolution

noun
evo·​lu·​tion | \ ˌe-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce evolution (audio) , ˌē-və- \

Definition of evolution

1a : descent with modification from preexisting species : cumulative inherited change in a population of organisms through time leading to the appearance of new forms : the process by which new species or populations of living things develop from preexisting forms through successive generations Evolution is a process of continuous branching and diversification from common trunks. This pattern of irreversible separation gives life's history its basic directionality.— Stephen Jay Gould also : the scientific theory explaining the appearance of new species and varieties through the action of various biological mechanisms (such as natural selection, genetic mutation or drift, and hybridization) Since 1950, developments in molecular biology have had a growing influence on the theory of evolution. Nature In Darwinian evolution, the basic mechanism is genetic mutation, followed by selection of the organisms most likely to survive. — Pamela Weintraub
b : the historical development of a biological group (such as a species) : phylogeny
2a : a process of change in a certain direction : unfolding
b : the action or an instance of forming and giving something off : emission
c(1) : a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state : growth
(2) : a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance
d : something evolved
3 : the process of working out or developing
4 : the extraction of a mathematical root
5 : a process in which the whole universe is a progression of interrelated phenomena
6 : one of a set of prescribed movements

Other Words from evolution

evolutionarily \ ˌe-​və-​ˈlü-​shə-​ˌner-​ə-​lē How to pronounce evolution (audio) , ˌē-​və-​ \ adverb
evolutionary \ ˌe-​və-​ˈlü-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce evolution (audio) , ˌē-​və-​ \ adjective
evolutionism \ ˌe-​və-​ˈlü-​shə-​ˌni-​zəm How to pronounce evolution (audio) , ˌē-​və-​ \ noun
evolutionist \ ˌe-​və-​ˈlü-​sh(ə-​)nist How to pronounce evolution (audio) , ˌē-​və-​ \ noun or adjective

Examples of evolution in a Sentence

changes brought about by evolution an important step in the evolution of computers
Recent Examples on the Web The way products are sold has changed drastically and Ratner acknowledges that Rhode is tapping into this evolution. Celia Shatzman, Forbes, 15 June 2022 There's a part of me that worries about Evil's evolution toward greater serialization, but the scripts successfully tee up big revelations even as the central mysteries get more confounding. Darren Franich, EW.com, 15 June 2022 To mark the occasion, Landon spoke to PEOPLE about all things fashion, the collection and how his rockstar dad influenced his style evolution. Daniela Avila, PEOPLE.com, 15 June 2022 In March, Walker questioned evolution during an address at a Georgia church, asking why apes still exist if humans have evolved from them. Timothy Bella, Anchorage Daily News, 14 June 2022 Here, Gad and Raver-Lampman reflect on Molly’s evolution this season and how the show’s catchiest ear worm, by Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, came together. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 14 June 2022 In 1925 during the Scopes monkey trial, when a Tennessee jury convicted a high school teacher of introducing evolution to his classroom, its anti-science stance was ridiculed. Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2022 Some experts worry about vaccine modifications keeping pace with the speed of the virus’s evolution. Noah Weiland, BostonGlobe.com, 9 June 2022 Walter White’s evolution from a family man desperate to provide for his family to the meth kingpin of the Southwest had audiences…well, addicted. Mike Postalakis, SPIN, 9 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'evolution.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of evolution

1616, in the meaning defined at sense 6

History and Etymology for evolution

borrowed from New Latin ēvolūtiōn-, ēvolūtiō "unfolding of a curve (in geometry), emergence from an enclosing structure, historical development," going back to Medieval Latin, "unfolding of a tale, lapse of time," going back to Latin, "unrolling of a papyrus scroll while reading it," from ēvolū-, variant stem of ēvolvere "to roll out or away, unwind, unroll" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at evolve

Learn More About evolution

Time Traveler for evolution

Time Traveler

The first known use of evolution was in 1616

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near evolution

evolute

evolution

evolutional

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for evolution

Last Updated

19 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Evolution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evolution. Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for evolution

evolution

noun
evo·​lu·​tion | \ ˌe-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce evolution (audio) , ˌē-və- \

Kids Definition of evolution

1 : the theory that the various kinds of existing animals and plants have come from kinds that existed in the past
2 : the process of development of an animal or a plant

evolution

noun
evo·​lu·​tion | \ ˌev-ə-ˈlü-shən also ˌē-və- \

Medical Definition of evolution

1 : a process of change in a certain direction tumor evolution and progression— I. J. Fidler et al.
2a : descent with modification from preexisting species : cumulative inherited change in a population of organisms through time leading to the appearance of new forms : the process by which new species or populations of living things develop from preexisting forms through successive generations also : the scientific theory explaining the appearance of new species and varieties through the action of various biological mechanisms (as natural selection, genetic mutation or drift, and hybridization) Since 1950, developments in molecular biology have had a growing influence on the theory of evolution. Nature
b : the historical development of a biological group (as a race or species) : phylogeny

Other Words from evolution

evolutionarily \ -​shə-​ˌner-​ə-​lē How to pronounce evolution (audio) \ adverb
evolutionary \ -​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce evolution (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on evolution

Nglish: Translation of evolution for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of evolution for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about evolution

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!