Definitions of evolution

  1. The act of unfolding or unrolling; hence, in the process of growth; development; as, the evolution of a flower from a bud, or an animal from the egg.
  2. A series of things unrolled or unfolded.
  3. The formation of an involute by unwrapping a thread from a curve as an evolute.
  4. A prescribed movement of a body of troops, or a vessel or fleet; any movement designed to effect a new arrangement or disposition; a maneuver.
  5. A general name for the history of the steps by which any living organism has acquired the morphological and physiological characters which distinguish it; a gradual unfolding of successive phases of growth or development.
  6. That series of changes under natural law which involves continuous progress from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous in structure, and from the single and simple to the diverse and manifold in quality or function. The pocess is by some limited to organic beings; by others it is applied to the inorganic and the psychical. It is also applied to explain the existence and growth of institutions, manners, language, civilization, and every product of human activity. The agencies and laws of the process are variously explained by different philosophrs.
  7. The extraction of roots; - the reverse of involution.
  8. That theory of generation which supposes the germ to preexist in the parent, and its parts to be developed, but not actually formed, by the procreative act; - opposed to epigenesis.
  9. The act of unfolding or developing; growth; as, the evolution of a moth from a caterpillar; the evolution of the plot of a story; the thing developed or evolved; the movements of troops in marching or on the battlefield; the extraction of roots of any arithmetical or algebraic power; the gradual development of forms of life from the lowest stage; the theory concerning the gradual development of forms of life upward from the lowest stage.
  10. Evolutionist.
  11. The act of unfolding or unrolling; development; as, the evolution of a flower from a bud, or a bird from the egg; as " The evolution of the plot ( of a dramatic poem)."- Dr. Caird: a series of things unrolled or unfolded; as, " The evolution of ages."- Sir T. More: in geom. the unfolding or opening of a curve and making it describe an evolvent; the equable evolution of the periphery of a circle or other curve is such a gradual approach of the circumference to rectitude as that its parts do not concur and equally evolve or unbend, so that the same line becomes successively a less arc of a reciprocally greater circle, till at last they change into a straight line: in math. the extraction of roots from powers; the reverse of involution: ( milit.) the doubling of ranks or files, wheeling, countermarching, or other motion by which the disposition of troops is changed, in order to attack or defend with more advantage or to occupy a different post: ( naut.) the change of form and disposition of a fleet or the movements of a single vessel during manoeuvres: in biology, strictly the theory of generation, in which the germ is held to pre- exist in the parent, and its parts to be unfolded and expanded, but not actually formed by the procreative acts: that theory which sees in the history of all things, organic and inorganic, a passage from simplicity to complexity, from an undifferentiated to a differentiated condition of the elements. Thus the nebular hypothesis, which regards the planetary bodies as evolved from nebular or gaseous matter, and the history of the development of an individual plant or animal, or of society, are examples of evolution. The evolution theory of the origin of species is, that later species have been developed by continuous differentiation of organs and modifications of parts from species simpler and less differentiated, and that thus all organic existences, even man himself, may be traced back to a simple cell.
  12. Act of unfolding; development; series of orderly movements.
  13. The act of evolving; development.
  14. The act of unfolding or unrolling; a series of things unfolded, arising the one from the other; development; the extraction of roots in arith. or alg.; a change in the arrangement and disposition of a body of soldiers in the field, or at a review.
  15. The gradual development of organisms from preexisting organisms.
  16. Evolutional, evolutionary.