Definition of evolutionary in US English:



  • 1Relating to or denoting the process by which different kinds of living organisms are believed to have developed from earlier forms.

    ‘Darwinian evolutionary theory’
    ‘chance enters into the evolutionary process in the form of naturally occurring random mutations’
    • ‘An emerging issue in evolutionary genetics is whether it is possible to use gene expression profiling to identify genes that are associated with divergence between species and whether these genes have undergone positive selection.’
    • ‘As evolutionary theory became more widely accepted, natural scientists speculated that the cells of complex organisms might be the descendants of unicellular ancestors, retaining considerable autonomy.’
    • ‘If the status accorded to tall people has evolutionary origins — when height signalled strength and power — these same psychological processes may exist today, just in our subconscious.’
    • ‘He shows us how evolutionary processes work: as time moves forward the cells become more complex, and the web of life is able to diversify and expand in multiple directions.’
    • ‘Evolutionary biology emerged in the nineteenth century.’
    • ‘With its genome sequenced in 2000, the fruit fly is now providing even greater opportunities for learning on topics ranging from insect host adaptation and evolutionary biology to human health and disease.’
  • 2Relating to the gradual development of something.

    ‘updating technology is an evolutionary process’
    • ‘The fact that technology transfers to suppliers are most efficient in the oldest plants supports an evolutionary perspective on technological development.’
    • ‘He offers an impressive specification of the role that disgust plays in Freud's evolutionary theory of repression.’
    • ‘These films are the result of an evolutionary process in cinema genres.’
    • ‘We would have to consider the company's evolutionary history and its brushes with extinction.’
    • ‘Some historians stress that agriculture was already undergoing evolutionary change, but that this was speeded up by enclosure, particularly the parliamentary enclosures of the 18th century.’
  • 3Relating to a pattern of movements or maneuvers.

    ‘evolutionary tactics’
    ‘he was in command of the evolutionary squadron’
    • ‘The twin threats posed by conventional and unconventional actors dictate a cautious and evolutionary approach to military procurement.’
    • ‘His term was interrupted by command of the evolutionary squadron in 1845.’