What does evolution mean?

Definitions for evolution
ˌɛv əˈlu ʃən; esp. Brit. ˌi və-evo·lu·tion

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word evolution.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. development, evolutionnoun

    a process in which something passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage)

    "the development of his ideas took many years"; "the evolution of Greek civilization"; "the slow development of her skill as a writer"

  2. evolution, organic evolution, phylogeny, phylogenesisnoun

    (biology) the sequence of events involved in the evolutionary development of a species or taxonomic group of organisms


  1. evolutionnoun

    gradual directional change especially one leading to a more advanced or complex form; growth; development

  2. evolutionnoun

    The change in the genetic composition of a population over successive generations.

    1976, Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene:

  3. evolutionnoun

    The extraction of a root from a quantity.

  4. evolutionnoun

    One of a series of ordered movements.

  5. evolutionnoun

    A turning movement of the body.

    1869, Anon., Miss Langley's Will:

  6. Etymology: From evolutio, from evolutus, perfect passive participle of evolvo, from e, short form of ex, + volvo.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Evolutionnoun

    Etymology: evolutus, Latin.

    The whole evolution of ages, from everlasting to everlasting, is so collectedly and presentifickly represented to God at once, as if all things which ever were, are, or shall be, were at this very instant, and so always, really present and existent before him. Henry More, Divine Dialogues.

    This spontaneous coagulation of the little saline bodies was preceded by almost innumerable evolutions, which were so various, that the little bodies came to obvert to each other those parts by which they might be best fastened together. Boyle.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Evolutionnoun

    the act of unfolding or unrolling; hence, in the process of growth; development; as, the evolution of a flower from a bud, or an animal from the egg

  2. Evolutionnoun

    a series of things unrolled or unfolded

  3. Evolutionnoun

    the formation of an involute by unwrapping a thread from a curve as an evolute

  4. Evolutionnoun

    the extraction of roots; -- the reverse of involution

  5. Evolutionnoun

    a prescribed movement of a body of troops, or a vessel or fleet; any movement designed to effect a new arrangement or disposition; a maneuver

  6. Evolutionnoun

    a general name for the history of the steps by which any living organism has acquired the morphological and physiological characters which distinguish it; a gradual unfolding of successive phases of growth or development

  7. Evolutionnoun

    that theory of generation which supposes the germ to preexist in the parent, and its parts to be developed, but not actually formed, by the procreative act; -- opposed to epigenesis

  8. Evolutionnoun

    that series of changes under natural law which involves continuous progress from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous in structure, and from the single and simple to the diverse and manifold in quality or function. The pocess is by some limited to organic beings; by others it is applied to the inorganic and the psychical. It is also applied to explain the existence and growth of institutions, manners, language, civilization, and every product of human activity. The agencies and laws of the process are variously explained by different philosophrs

  9. Etymology: [L. evolutio an unrolling: cf. F. volution evolution. See Evolve.]


  1. Evolution

    Evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins. All life on earth is descended from a last universal ancestor that lived approximately 3.8 billion years ago. Repeated speciation and the divergence of life can be inferred from shared sets of biochemical and morphological traits, or by shared DNA sequences. These homologous traits and sequences are more similar among species that share a more recent common ancestor, and can be used to reconstruct evolutionary histories, using both existing species and the fossil record. Existing patterns of biodiversity have been shaped both by speciation and by extinction. Charles Darwin was the first to formulate a scientific argument for the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. Evolution by natural selection is a process that is inferred from three facts about populations: 1) more offspring are produced than can possibly survive, 2) traits vary among individuals, leading to different rates of survival and reproduction, and 3) trait differences are heritable. Thus, when members of a population die they are replaced by the progeny of parents that were better adapted to survive and reproduce in the environment in which natural selection took place. This process creates and preserves traits that are seemingly fitted for the functional roles they perform. Natural selection is the only known cause of adaptation, but not the only known cause of evolution. Other, nonadaptive causes of evolution include mutation and genetic drift.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Evolution

    ev-ol-ū′shun, n. the act of unrolling or unfolding: gradual working out or development: a series of things unfolded: the doctrine according to which higher forms of life have gradually arisen out of lower: (arith., alg.) the extraction of roots: (pl.) the orderly movements of a body of troops or of ships of war.—adjs. Evolū′tional, Evolū′tionary, of or pertaining to evolution.—ns. Evolū′tionism, the theory of evolution; Evolū′tionist, one skilled in evolutions or military movements: one who believes in evolution as a principle in science.—adj. Ev′olūtive. [L. evolutionemevolvĕre.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Evolution

    the theory that the several species of plants and animals on the globe were not created in their present form, but have all been evolved by modifications of structure from cruder forms under or coincident with change of environment, an idea which is being applied to everything organic in the spiritual as well as the natural world. See Darwinian Theory.

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. evolution

    1. A word that has reclassified in an entertaining manner our impermeable and eternal ignorance. 2. The growth of a thing from the simple to the complex, and the wasting away of the complex until it is simpler than ever. 3. The one superstition that is cordially hated by theologues.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Evolution

    The process of cumulative change over successive generations through which organisms acquire their distinguishing morphological and physiological characteristics.

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    A clever trick performed by one Darwin, who made a monkey of Adam.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. evolution

    The change of form and disposition during manœuvres, whether of men or ships; movements which should combine celerity with precision and regularity.

Editors Contribution

  1. evolution

    To improve using our mind, thoughts, learning, awareness, education, experience, understanding, knowledge and skills.

    The evolution of humanity is happening every day as we as human beings learn, change and grow.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 19, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. evolution

    Song lyrics by evolution -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by evolution on the Lyrics.com website.

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British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'evolution' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3862

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'evolution' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4085

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'evolution' in Nouns Frequency: #1572

How to pronounce evolution?

How to say evolution in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of evolution in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of evolution in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of evolution in a Sentence

  1. Scott Sheppard:

    These distant objects are like breadcrumbs leading us to Planet X, the more of them we can find, the better we can understand the outer Solar System and the possible planet that we think is shaping their orbits -- a discovery that would redefine our knowledge of the Solar System's evolution.

  2. Pastor Blair:

    I am beside myself with frustration that our tax dollars go to promote a drag queen show and safe sex events with carnival games that are obscene and graphic, yet when it comes to something like debating Darwinian evolution or talking about the literal Creation account of Genesis – well that kind of speech must be censored.

  3. Billy Bob Thornton:

    Billy is not the type, I am not the type, who likes the idea of big corporations telling us how we should live our lives, i'm really happy that that was the final season because I think the evolution worked out perfectly.

  4. Tom DeLay:

    Our school systems teach our children that they are nothing but glorified apes who have evolutionized out of some primordial soup of mud, by teaching evolution as fact.

  5. Paul Olsen:

    This a remarkable find providing unprecedented detail for a previously poorly understood phase of feather evolution.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


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    an exhilarating psychological state of pride and optimism; an absence of depression
    • A. sweep
    • B. mitre
    • C. brasserie
    • D. elation

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