Definition of revolve in English:


Syllabification: re·volve
Pronunciation: /riˈvälv, riˈvôlv


[no object]
  • 1Move in a circle on a central axis: overhead, the fan revolved slowly
    More example sentences
    • Imagine a fly walking across a man's head as the man strolls down the aisle of a speeding train as the earth revolves on its axis and circles round the sun in a rapidly expanding universe.
    • Its body revolves in a complete circle while its wheels stay put.
    • The crowd is dancing to an Israeli classic, revolving in a giant circle, arms around each other's shoulders.
  • 1.1 (revolve around/about) Move in a circular orbit around: the earth revolves around the sun
    More example sentences
    • Thousands of galaxies revolve about its center, moving in every possible orbit like bees circling a beehive.
    • The world is seen as a giant clod around which the heavens revolve about a polar axis.
    • A third type of double stars involves a pair of stars revolving about their common center of mass in an orbit whose plane passes through or very near the Earth.
    circle, travel, orbit
  • 1.2 (revolve around) Treat as the most important point or element: her life revolved around her husband
    More example sentences
    • An important element of the case revolves around which party initially contacted the other.
    • It would have all the commercial elements with a storyline revolving around college students.
    • The bulk of my professional practise has revolved around assessing and treating traumatized individuals.
    be concerned with, be preoccupied with, focus on, center on/around
  • 1.3 [with object] Consider (something) repeatedly and from different angles: her mind revolved the possibilities
    More example sentences
    • For all of which reasons, I didn't sleep particularly well last night, and found my mind revolving the problem of the island.
    • I revolved these circumstances in my mind, and determined thenceforth to apply myself more particularly to those branches of natural philosophy which relate to physiology.
    • Its symphonic narrative revolves six characters through six ages of man - from the 19th century to distant millennia - then brings them full circle as each one completes their interrupted history.


late Middle English (in the senses 'turn (the eyes) back', 'restore', 'consider'): from Latin revolvere, from re- 'back' (also expressing intensive force) + volvere 'roll'.

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