Definition of evolution in US English:

evolution

noun

  • 1The process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth.

    The idea of organic evolution was proposed by some ancient Greek thinkers but was long rejected in Europe as contrary to the literal interpretation of the Bible. Lamarck proposed a theory that organisms became transformed by their efforts to respond to the demands of their environment, but he was unable to explain a mechanism for this. Lyell demonstrated that geological deposits were the cumulative product of slow processes over vast ages. This helped Darwin toward a theory of gradual evolution over a long period by the natural selection of those varieties of an organism slightly better adapted to the environment and hence more likely to produce descendants. Combined with the later discoveries of the cellular and molecular basis of genetics, Darwin's theory of evolution has, with some modification, become the dominant unifying concept of modern biology

    • ‘Many intelligent design advocates accept evolution and also an Earth billions of years old, not thousands.’
    • ‘His work contributed to the synthesis of Mendelian genetics and Darwinian evolution, and to the development of the biological species concept.’
    • ‘I do not believe in evolution because evolution is not a matter for belief.’
    • ‘Darwin discovered evolution through natural selection, but, a quiet man with a religious wife, he did not engage in the ensuing public debates.’
    • ‘If people of liberal persuasion believe in evolution then evolution must be wrong.’
    • ‘Thus, nothing in life or about the functioning of living organisms can be fully understood without an appreciation of evolution by natural selection.’
    • ‘Few public figures who wish to be taken seriously in any scientific discipline are still trying to discount Darwin's theory of evolution and natural selection.’
    • ‘Both yield direct inferences about the process of evolution by natural selection.’
    • ‘Evolutionists do not question evolution because they already believe it as a fact.’
    • ‘According to Lamarck, evolution occurs because organisms can inherit traits which have been acquired by their ancestors.’
    • ‘It aims to promote the view that man was created in his present shape by God, as the Bible states, rather than by a Darwinian process of evolution, as scientists insist.’
    • ‘Therefore, we are supposed to believe that Darwinian evolution is a reality within which all valid science is complementarily interwoven?’
    • ‘The comparison of genetic structures in different organisms reveals that human evolution involves the variation of systems first evolved in the simplest organisms.’
    • ‘As mapping the human genome reveals the actual evolution of the organism, so the history of culture traces an essential source of human personality.’
    • ‘We simply treat Darwinian evolution as another selection process.’
    • ‘Consider Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection.’
    • ‘Naturally Grandmother hounded him to his deathbed, trying to make him give up believing in Darwinian evolution.’
    • ‘As far as change being different from evolution, evolution is just change happening over time.’
    • ‘Most do believe that evolution works by natural selection on changes in organisms due to random changes in their DNA, and the evidence for this is overwhelming.’
    • ‘As commonly interpreted, Darwinian evolution is a process by which the individuals less fit to survive the challenges of the environment are genetically weeded out.’
    darwinism, natural selection
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  • 2The gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.

    ‘the forms of written languages undergo constant evolution’
    • ‘Yet despite its success, the gradual evolution of English cut motifs, from as early as 1700, has long remained uncharted due to a lack of documentary evidence.’
    • ‘This book focuses on the development and evolution of institutions on the western frontier.’
    • ‘It is only extended to individuals who have contributed most to the development and evolution of some aspect of the Irish economy through the use of leading edge connected technology.’
    • ‘The most visible effects of Asian trade on Britain were the gradual evolution of new consumer tastes and the growth of mass markets for commodities, previously unknown.’
    • ‘The advantage of a system based on insurance is that it allows gradual evolution towards a reasonable standard that reflects consumers' judgments about the type and cost of cover they want.’
    • ‘First, it recognizes gradual evolution of both language and music.’
    • ‘During this time, his style and technique have both undergone a gradual yet notable evolution.’
    • ‘Other arguments about gradual social evolution deprive the people involved of their agency (a theoretical issue).’
    • ‘The most significant change she has seen has been the gradual evolution of food quality.’
    • ‘To support instead the gradual evolution of a customary prohibition of amnesty for the crimes under discussion, one may mention other elements of State practice.’
    • ‘In contrast, termites have been rather neglected and are mentioned only briefly in major references on social evolution.’
    • ‘I'm very interested in the development and evolution of digital music.’
    • ‘An unprecedented event in Taiwan's political history, the recount is part of the progressive and gradual evolution of democracy.’
    • ‘This development follows the general evolution in society towards casualization.’
    • ‘Anything done to usurp the development of our mental evolution will lead to the regression of man, the destruction of community and the eventual return to the law of the jungle.’
    • ‘Then you have the gradual evolution into modern art, where the artist's identity completely overtakes both their style and their subject matter.’
    • ‘Here too there might be an ontological clue to the development or evolution of language.’
    • ‘The evolution of language required major additions to the cognitive structure of the mimetic mind.’
    • ‘Differences between us and the Sumerians (or Egyptians, or Mayans, or whatever) can be explained through gradual evolution of language and culture.’
    • ‘They face the challenge of being flexible and adaptable to the patterns that occur and recur through the constant evolution of the aviation business.’
    development, advancement, growth, rise, progress, progression, expansion, extension, unfolding
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  • 3Chemistry
    The giving off of a gaseous product, or of heat.

    • ‘However, unlike ZEs, a peak in ethylene evolution did not occur at 35 DAC for MDEs.’
    • ‘In the past, the evolution of sulfur dioxide from roasting facilities was a major cause of acid rain, but most sulfur dioxide is now captured and used to make sulfuric acid.’
    • ‘In the absence of other electron acceptors, the addition of either peroxide induced oxygen evolution in wild-type Synechocystis.’
    • ‘With different mutants a correlation between the total amount of synthesized carotenoids and photosynthetic oxygen evolution was observed.’
    • ‘The flash photolysis technique can be used to determine the time of evolution of the products of photodegradation.’
  • 4A pattern of movements or maneuvers.

    ‘silk ribbons waving in fanciful evolutions’
    • ‘When it is your shop's day, a petty officer is selected to watch selected maintenance evolutions (basically the same duties as the safety petty officer in the squadron).’
    • ‘Many commanders either could not trust their troops to perform the complex evolutions required or failed to locate the enemy in time to deploy.’
    • ‘Two, pick up into a hover and do a pedal turn to park the aircraft on the port line-up, a three-minute evolution at most.’
    • ‘We were fortunate this was not a night evolution, and the damage was visible to those outside our aircraft.’
    • ‘Westralia's warfare capabilities and performance were tested beyond that normally expected of a tanker during several evolutions including air warfare and damage control exercises.’
    • ‘Our flight-deck crew had been working nonstop in support of real-world operations and day-night training evolutions.’
    • ‘The only modification that applied to me was leaving the RAST probe in the down position during the evolutions.’
    • ‘Naval aviation is dangerous enough without eliminating all known discrepancies and confusion from complex evolutions, such as a carrier launch.’
    • ‘Before the aforementioned evolutions, however, the captain had twice sent for some grog ‘for their present accommodation’ to settle the dispute about quitting or at least omitting the drill.’
    • ‘While all three phases have their individual objectives, they all share common physical evolutions including running, swimming and the obstacle courses.’
    • ‘Close manoeuvring, defending against air and submarine attacks, naval gunfire shoots, practising replenishment operations at sea and helicopter operations will be among the evolutions which should keep the teenagers excited.’
    • ‘They need to perform evolutions such as breaking contact on different live-fire ranges and in varying terrain types.’
    • ‘I'm writing because I do not want other Navy SAR units to get the impression it's OK to wear training gear for actual evolutions and to do full live hoists by litter as part of a mishap drill.’
    • ‘The IPT ensures continued ability to meet baseline requirements while adapting to requirements evolutions that drive system modifications.’
    • ‘Even on a conventional battlefield, conducting a successful relief in place is among the more demanding of military evolutions.’
    • ‘It seemed there never was enough time for all the necessary evolutions, much less those things I had kept putting off until the pace slacked off just a bit.’
    • ‘To assume its wartime configuration for these evolutions, the Seventh Air Force's air operations center requires hundreds of augmentees from other commands.’
    • ‘The OinC had spoken to us from time to time regarding evolutions that required our close attention to make them go smoothly.’
  • 5Mathematics
    dated The extraction of a root from a given quantity.

Origin

Early 17th century: from Latin evolutio(n-) ‘unrolling’, from the verb evolvere (see evolve). Early senses related to movement, first recorded in describing a ‘wheeling’ maneuver in the realignment of troops or ships. Current senses stem from a notion of ‘opening out’, giving rise to the sense ‘development’.

Pronunciation

evolution

/ˌevəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n//ˌɛvəˈluʃ(ə)n/