Definition of devolution in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌdevəˈl(y)o͞oSH(ə)n/


1The transfer or delegation of power to a lower level, especially by central government to local or regional administration.
Example sentences
  • Even after devolution, local government had little autonomy.
  • Both are now looking for a Plan B and I suspect that the next crucial battleground will be local government reform and devolution to smaller and more powerful councils.
  • In most instances widespread corruption, relatively centralised health policy making, and poor devolution to local governments lie at the core of the problem.
decentralization, delegation;
redistribution, transfer;
surrender, relinquishment
1.1 formal Descent or degeneration to a lower or worse state: the devolution of the gentlemanly ideal into a glorification of drunkenness
More example sentences
  • Keng's devolution in the second half is made incredibly evident.
  • In our judgement the power struggle within the TFG has ended with its devolution into factionalism.
  • Branding is an effort at countering the devolution of a so-called proprietary good into a "commodity."
1.2 Law The legal transfer of property from one owner to another.
Example sentences
  • That exception covers devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law [as well as] the application of African customary law in any case involving Africans.
  • A telling sign of heightened stress within the patrilineal family is the rise of litigation over property devolution.
  • This produces the following devolution of title to the legal estate and the equitable interest.
1.3 Biology Evolutionary degeneration.
Example sentences
  • This would help insure that any propagation of the human race worked toward evolution rather than devolution.
  • So if there is a developmental sequence for species, then anything that reverses that sequence is devolution and degeneration.
  • Evolution of a smaller jaw would at best be a result of devolution, dysgenics caused by the accumulation of mutations.



Pronunciation: /-ˌnerē/
Example sentences
  • Crude though their implementation may have been, the anti-racist and devolutionary policies of the libertarian-dominated Labour councils of the 1980s are now seen as common sense by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
  • Scotland is living through an era of ‘embedded politics’ where every twist in the road leads to some form of devolutionary ramp and where virtually every subject no matter how strange comes into some contact with constitutional politics.
  • For the moment - and though the situation could change there is no reason why it must - the devolutionary experiment seems to have appeased national sentiment rather than encouraged nationalist politics.


Pronunciation: /ˌdevəˈl(y)o͞oSH(ə)nəst/
Example sentences
  • Last night deflated devolutionists were stressing that the question of how the Northern regions can improve their economies themselves without elected assemblies still needed to be answered.
  • What the devolutionists failed to acknowledge was that, on almost as many occasions, England voted Tory but had a Labour government forced on it by the Scots.
  • Some fear losing a referendum so close to a General Election, and even keen devolutionists want it put off, because they think the vote is being rushed.


Late 15th century (in the sense 'transference by default'): from late Latin devolutio(n-), from Latin devolvere 'roll down' (see devolve).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dev·o·lu·tion

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