Devolve meaning

dĭ-vŏlv
To degenerate or deteriorate gradually.

After several hours the discussion had devolved into a shouting match.

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To change gradually for the worse; decline; deteriorate; degenerate.
verb
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To devolve is to delegate or pass on power especially to someone at a lower level, or to change for the worse.

When a federal government leader delegates power to lower-ranked state leaders, this is an example of when power devolves.

When a unified country splits up and dissolves into different governing states, this is an example of when the country devolves.

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(intransitive) To be inherited by someone else; to pass down upon the next person in a succession, especially through failure or loss of an earlier holder. [from 16th c.]
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(intransitive) To degenerate; to break down. [from 18th c.]

A discussion about politics may devolve into a shouting match.

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To pass on or delegate to another.

The senator devolved the duties of office upon a group of aides.

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(archaic) To cause to roll onward or downward.
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To be passed on or transferred to another.

The burden of proof devolved upon the defendant. The estate devolved to an unlikely heir.

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(archaic) To roll onward or downward.
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To transfer or pass on (duties, responsibilities, etc.) to another or others.
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To pass or be transferred to another or others.
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The grant or transfer of authority and/or responsibility to another.
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1830, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Character.

He spake of virtue […] And with […] a lack-lustre dead-blue eye, Devolved his rounded periods.

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To delegate (a responsibility, duty etc.) on or upon someone. [from 17th c.]
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(intransitive) To fall as a duty or responsibility on or upon someone. [from 18th c.]
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Origin of devolve

  • Middle English devolven to transfer from Old French devolver to confer, ascribe from Latin dēvolvere to roll down, fall to dē- de- volvere to roll wel-2 in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Latin dēvolvō (“roll or tumble off or down”), from + volvō (“roll”).

    From Wiktionary