involution

noun

in·​vo·​lu·​tion ˌin-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce involution (audio)
1
a(1)
: the act or an instance of enfolding or entangling : involvement
(2)
: an involved grammatical construction usually characterized by the insertion of clauses between the subject and predicate
2
3
a
: an inward curvature or penetration
b
: the formation of a gastrula by ingrowth of cells formed at the dorsal lip
4
: a shrinking or return to a former size
5
: the regressive alterations of a body or its parts characteristic of the aging process
skeletal involution due to loss of estrogens at menopause
involutional adjective

Example Sentences

the involution of the thriller's plot made it hard to follow
Recent Examples on the Web China’s hyper-competitive schools and workplaces have given rise to movements like ‘lying flat’ and ‘involution,’ which symbolize young people’s growing rejection of its cutthroat systems. Yvonne Lau, Fortune, 17 Sep. 2022 Lying flat and involution are not just online fodder, experts say; symptoms of passive resistance are popping up across Chinese society. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, 29 Aug. 2022 The opposite of evolution, a process of involution spirals in on itself, trapping its participants. Yi-ling Liu, Wired, 9 Mar. 2021 Notice that this is an involution as = ∂. In addition, the only self-conjugate itinerary is a string of O’s. Nicholas Diaco, Scientific American, 20 Mar. 2018 The entire process is known as involution of the uterus. Jennifer Hansen, WIRED, 6 Oct. 2010

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English involucioun "wrapping of a bandage, twist or coil of an organ, anatomical fold or entanglement," borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French involucion "state of something rolled up on itself, confusion, complications hindering the prosecution of a lawsuit," borrowed from Medieval Latin involūtiōn-, involūtiō "twist or coil of an organ, covering, wrapping up, envelopment, complexity, obscurity," going back to Latin, "a spiral, screw," from involū-, variant stem of involvere "to move by rolling, roll back on itself, enclose in a covering, wrap up" (Medieval Latin, "to engage in an affair or occupation, implicate, ensnare") + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at involve

First Known Use

circa 1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Time Traveler
The first known use of involution was circa 1611

Dictionary Entries Near involution

Cite this Entry

“Involution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/involution. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

involution

noun

in·​vo·​lu·​tion ˌin-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce involution (audio)

Medical Definition

involution

noun

in·​vo·​lu·​tion ˌin-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce involution (audio)
1
a
: an inward curvature or penetration
b
: the formation of a gastrula by ingrowth of cells formed at the dorsal lip
2
: a shrinking or return to a former size
involution of the uterus after pregnancy
3
: the regressive alterations of a body or its parts characteristic of the aging process
specifically : decline marked by a decrease of bodily vigor and in women by menopause

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