Definition of convolution in English:



  • 1often convolutionsA thing that is complex and difficult to follow.

    ‘the convolutions of farm policy’
    • ‘The convolutions in the plotlines veer back and forth between intriguing and confusing.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, all of the melodrama and intentional plot convolutions don't add up to much.’
    • ‘Yes, laughter too; for in the self-contradictory convolutions of human thought and action, the funny can, innocently or not, coexist with the most tragic.’
    • ‘Surely we reasonable creatures could dispense with these convolutions?’
    • ‘Although the plot convolutions probably employ too many convenient coincidences, suspension of disbelief happens effortlessly thanks to superb acting and directing throughout.’
    • ‘It's an interesting parallel, because jazz came in at the same time as the Modern style in architecture, and both have continued, but with convolutions and changes of style, up to the present time.’
    • ‘I urge the apologists for the Prime Minister to stop their convolutions and twisting of the truth.’
    • ‘Carey satirizes literary culture, plays with archetypes, exoticism, and the convolutions of travel yarns, and evokes Malaysia and Indonesia with aplomb.’
    • ‘The bad news is that there's a great deal of convolution: events and emotions are very confused, the threads are tangled.’
    • ‘The story seems to be supplemented every time the film-makers realise they're no closer to the target run-time they've been set by the studio and then just dissolves into its own convolution.’
    • ‘The dialogue will be mostly in English, a bonus when trying to weave one's way through the inevitable romantic convolutions of the operetta genre.’
    • ‘More important, I still find it hard to follow the convolutions of the plot.’
    • ‘The convolutions of dress are of course largely to act as trip wires for the unwary.’
    • ‘But what stopped me from really, really liking it was the utter convolution of the plot.’
    • ‘I trust him and he knows the water and heating convolutions of the house inside out.’
    • ‘But given the convolutions of the US electoral system I willing to admit I could be wrong.’
    • ‘The convolutions eventually snare the corrupt powerbrokers in their own deceptive political machinations.’
    • ‘I swear I'm trying to keep convolution to a minimum here, but this is no game of fishing in the carnival ducky pond, no siree.’
    • ‘For such are the convolutions of City's current cash crisis that should a buyer not be found by Saturday's deadline, the club will physically not close there and then.’
    • ‘They were handsomely backed in the convolutions of the plot by the rest of the cast, all of whom escaped the guillotine which loomed behind.’
    complexity, intricacy, complication, twist, turn, entanglement, contortion
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  • 2often convolutionsA coil or twist.

    ‘crosses adorned with elaborate convolutions’
    • ‘These logic gates are easy to link together because they are just extra convolutions in the tracks.’
    • ‘I go under the table to run my fingertip over their convolutions.’
    • ‘It stared at them with eyes they could not find in the convolutions of its grotesque skin.’
    • ‘Phosphor is clearly named for the pale, luminous green that animates a thick, pythonlike convolution which winds up from the bottom of the horizontal canvas and takes several loops around itself before exiting at the top.’
    • ‘Greatly enlarged, the convolutions of white seemed to waft up and westward toward the clouds of a buttermilk sky.’
    • ‘In this convolution, the edges of the blades in teeth 21-27 are serrated and show 15 denticles on each one.’
    • ‘Their origin is not yet completely understood, although they are certainly related to convolutions of the intense solar magnetic field.’
    • ‘If your horse isn't getting enough you'll see dramatic rings and convolutions in the hoof wall.’
    • ‘Above, the ceiling was hidden behind convolutions and clusters of tubes and beams and stranger things.’
    • ‘A disadvantage of the use of spacers is that the dynamic reach of the spacer causes a convolution in the adhesion image.’
    • ‘The line ran about eight hundred yards north to south, but in its convolutions stretched in overall length for more than two miles.’
    twist, turn, coil, spiral, twirl, curl, helix, whorl, loop, curlicue, kink, sinuosity
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    1. 2.1mass noun The state of being or process of becoming coiled or twisted.
      ‘the flexibility of the polymer chain allows extensive convolution’
      • ‘These fungiform structures are formed from a convolution of exocuticle.’
      • ‘Thus, the force required to extend and compress their convolutions is very low and stays consistent from part to part and over a wide range of motion.’
  • 3A sinuous fold in the surface of the brain.

    • ‘In addition, cholesterol depletion caused the convolutions of the basal membrane and the structure of the lateral membrane to be less complex and the membranes to be smoother in the DIC images.’
    • ‘In people, nonhuman primates, and other mammals with relatively large brains, the cerebral cortex's convolutions permit its large surface area to cram inside the skull.’
    • ‘They say one particular convolution in the right part of the brain is responsible for this sensation, that it collects information from different parts of the brain to form an idea of where the human body is at any particular moment.’
    • ‘Called an endocast, the model shows a variety of features, including the brain's size, shape, vessels, and convolutions.’
  • 4Mathematics
    A function derived from two given functions by integration which expresses how the shape of one is modified by the other.

    • ‘This operation is accomplished in the frequency domain by making use of the fundamental mathematical relationship that multiplication in the frequency domain is equivalent to convolution in the time domain.’
    • ‘We accomplish this shift by performing a 2 - D convolution of the image with a 7 x 7 low-pass filter mask.’
    • ‘The width of the sine period that was used for convolution was taken equal to 13 pixels as this yielded the smoothest traces.’
    • ‘In this way, a large number of very thin slabs would lead to a large number of parameters needing simultaneous refinement; moreover if the slabs were very thin they would be entirely smeared out after convolution with the Gaussian.’
    • ‘The disorientation of the filaments around fiber axes is also treated as a convolution with a Gaussian function.’
    1. 4.1 A method of determination of the sum of two random variables by integration or summation.
      • ‘Data analysis was carried out using a nonlinear, least-squares iterative convolution method based on the Marquardt algorithm.’
      • ‘The convolution method increases the precision, relative to estimation of the individual linewidths by simulation.’
      • ‘The convolution method was used to distinguish a cell from the background.’
      • ‘The fitting of a sum of exponentials convoluted to an instrument response to experimental data is traditionally done by iterative convolution.’
      • ‘The convolution method does not generate any new insight into what determines the value of [left angle bracket] Î ½ [right angle bracket], but it serves as a useful test case.’


Mid 16th century: from medieval Latin convolutio(n-), from convolvere ‘roll together’ (see convolve).