Definition of evolve in US English:



  • 1Develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form.

    no object ‘the company has evolved into a major chemical manufacturer’
    ‘the Gothic style evolved steadily and naturally from the Romanesque’
    with object ‘each school must evolve its own way of working’
    • ‘Having now evolved into a mature form, the Asian way no longer appears as the glaring parody it once seemed in bygone eras.’
    • ‘Trains on railways such as these moved slowly, and the footpaths alongside them gradually evolved into roads.’
    • ‘What I inherited from him was a love and knowledge of the countryside which evolved into a more conscious environmentalism.’
    • ‘And somewhere along the way, the street-cool ethos of the zine has evolved into a lucrative retail format.’
    • ‘Other cafes evolved into centres for the arts and sciences.’
    • ‘What started as a very limited levy has evolved into the federal government's main source of cash.’
    • ‘Gradually they evolved into plump stone discs with a handle protruding from the top surface.’
    • ‘Some of the new names at past British Opens soon evolved into familiar names.’
    • ‘His son Charles joined the firm at the age of 13 and the business gradually evolved into providing pet and garden supplies.’
    • ‘Often my films have started in one place and evolved into something very different.’
    • ‘It looks like the playing field has evolved into a mine field, and the big boys encourage the new kids to play hopscotch there.’
    • ‘But with the growth of bowling infrastructure over the years, it has evolved into a popular sport.’
    • ‘What began as a joke evolved into a plan to capture a camcorder keepsake of their trip - then turned into a widescreen spectacular.’
    • ‘Gradually the notion of consent evolved into informed consent, with the emphasis being on information about risks.’
    • ‘By the 17th century, they had evolved into a number of distinct clans.’
    • ‘By the 17th century, the simple knot garden had evolved into designs as complicated as those of embroidered cloth.’
    • ‘Deference to the prime minister has evolved into properly aggressive reporting.’
    • ‘It could have evolved into a prize sometimes given to mathematicians and sometimes computer scientists.’
    • ‘The delicate ceramic pieces began with a simple meaning and gradually evolved into something deeper.’
    • ‘By the next week it had evolved into something I had hoped I might never see again.’
    develop, progress, make progress, advance, move forward, make headway, mature, grow, open out, unfold, unroll, expand, enlarge, spread, extend
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    1. 1.1 (with reference to an organism or biological feature) develop over successive generations as a result of natural selection.
      no object ‘the populations are cut off from each other and evolve independently’
      • ‘Man himself was not created as a separate species but evolved like every other organism by a process of evolution.’
      • ‘How many times have truffle parasites evolved from cicada parasites in Cordyceps?’
      • ‘By the late Oligocene, the two modern lineages of cetaceans had evolved from archaeocete ancestors.’
      • ‘He envisions society as an organism that evolves and develops by differentiation.’
      • ‘Evolutionary biologists call this phenomenon, in which an organism evolves just to stay in place, the Red Queen hypothesis.’
      • ‘I'm a big believer in Darwin's theory that all life forms evolved from amoebae.’
      • ‘Over millions of years these organisms would develop, adapt and evolve into newly created organisms.’
      • ‘At one end of the continuum we have the notion of a population of organisms evolving into something else.’
      • ‘Apparently the species evolved from Homo erectus, who somehow managed to reach Flores, perhaps by rafting.’
      • ‘I believe it reinforces the inescapable conclusion that we evolved from single cells.’
      • ‘It is now thought that the genes for the rod and cone pigments evolved from a common ancestral gene.’
      • ‘The linkage between genes and behaviour is clear, but it did not evolve by natural selection.’
      • ‘But not all scientists agree that life evolved from chemicals in the primordial soup.’
      • ‘They evolved from a common ancestor but for both nations to play each other at all a hybrid set of rules has had to be devised.’
      • ‘Not one word is said about how single cells could evolve into a multiple-celled organism.’
      • ‘But planes would still fly, and life still evolves through natural selection, common descent, and the known workings of genetics.’
      • ‘The limbs of tetrapod vertebrates evolved from fins, with the digits as a novel feature.’
      • ‘Just because certain creatures may look similar does not mean they have evolved from a common ancestor.’
      • ‘What does it mean to be made in God's own image if humans evolved from ape-like ancestors?’
      • ‘If all organisms evolved from a single common ancestor, what do these groups actually represent?’
  • 2Chemistry
    with object Give off (gas or heat).

    • ‘Tertiary amines dissolve in nitrous acid without evolving any gas.’
    • ‘Dimerization is usually required for proteins to evolve oligomeric proteins.’
    • ‘The chemical reactions by which they do this evolve gas, which is why peas and beans cause wind.’
    • ‘By convention, the change in heat is positive when the system absorbs energy and negative when the system evolves heat.’
    • ‘Above 1500°F water vapor and the metal combine to form the oxide and evolve hydrogen.’
    emit, yield, give off, discharge, release, produce
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Early 17th century (in the general sense ‘make more complex, develop’): from Latin evolvere, from e- (variant of ex-) ‘out of’ + volvere ‘to roll’.