Definition of convolution in US English:



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

    ‘the convolutions of farm policy’
    • ‘Although the plot convolutions probably employ too many convenient coincidences, suspension of disbelief happens effortlessly thanks to superb acting and directing throughout.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I trust him and he knows the water and heating convolutions of the house inside out.’
    • ‘More important, I still find it hard to follow the convolutions of the plot.’
    • ‘But given the convolutions of the US electoral system I willing to admit I could be wrong.’
    • ‘I urge the apologists for the Prime Minister to stop their convolutions and twisting of the truth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Carey satirizes literary culture, plays with archetypes, exoticism, and the convolutions of travel yarns, and evokes Malaysia and Indonesia with aplomb.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The convolutions in the plotlines veer back and forth between intriguing and confusing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Surely we reasonable creatures could dispense with these convolutions?’
    • ‘The convolutions eventually snare the corrupt powerbrokers in their own deceptive political machinations.’
    • ‘The bad news is that there's a great deal of convolution: events and emotions are very confused, the threads are tangled.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, all of the melodrama and intentional plot convolutions don't add up to much.’
    complexity, intricacy, complication, twist, turn, entanglement, contortion
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  • 2often convolutionsA coil or twist, especially one of many.

    ‘crosses adorned with elaborate convolutions’
    • ‘If your horse isn't getting enough you'll see dramatic rings and convolutions in the hoof wall.’
    • ‘A disadvantage of the use of spacers is that the dynamic reach of the spacer causes a convolution in the adhesion image.’
    • ‘Above, the ceiling was hidden behind convolutions and clusters of tubes and beams and stranger things.’
    • ‘In this convolution, the edges of the blades in teeth 21-27 are serrated and show 15 denticles on each one.’
    • ‘The line ran about eight hundred yards north to south, but in its convolutions stretched in overall length for more than two miles.’
    • ‘It stared at them with eyes they could not find in the convolutions of its grotesque skin.’
    • ‘Their origin is not yet completely understood, although they are certainly related to convolutions of the intense solar magnetic field.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Greatly enlarged, the convolutions of white seemed to waft up and westward toward the clouds of a buttermilk sky.’
    • ‘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.’
    twist, turn, coil, spiral, twirl, curl, helix, whorl, loop, curlicue, kink, sinuosity
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    1. 2.1 The state of being coiled or twisted, or the process of becoming so.
      ‘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 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.

    • ‘The width of the sine period that was used for convolution was taken equal to 13 pixels as this yielded the smoothest traces.’
    • ‘We accomplish this shift by performing a 2 - D convolution of the image with a 7 x 7 low-pass filter mask.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.
      • ‘The fitting of a sum of exponentials convoluted to an instrument response to experimental data is traditionally done by iterative convolution.’
      • ‘Data analysis was carried out using a nonlinear, least-squares iterative convolution method based on the Marquardt algorithm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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