Definition of devolve in English:


Syllabification: de·volve
Pronunciation: /dəˈvälv


[with object]
1Transfer or delegate (power) to a lower level, especially from central government to local or regional administration: measures to devolve power to the provinces (as adjective devolved) devolved and decentralized government
More example sentences
  • The State Government devolving its powers on local self-governments is not to be criticised.
  • Let's imagine a situation where regional assemblies over England decide to pursue the same line as London, and the national agencies are broken up so as to devolve power to local decision-makers.
  • He said: ‘If you are going to devolve power to local communities, giving them a list of who should be involved is counter-productive.’
delegate, depute, pass (down/on), download, hand down/over/on, transfer, transmit, assign, consign, convey, entrust, turn over, give, cede, surrender, relinquish, deliver;
bestow, grant
1.1 [no object] (devolve on/upon/to) (Of duties or responsibility) pass to (a body or person at a lower level): his duties devolved on a comrade
More example sentences
  • A committee or coalition cannot instigate true love; the responsibility for this devolves to substantial human exemplars.
  • The governor's call for a non-binding referendum means this responsibility will ultimately devolve upon us.
  • I'm not saying that sexual responsibility devolves to women.
1.2 [no object] (devolve into) formal Degenerate or be split into: the Empire devolved into separate warring states
More example sentences
  • Worse, fullbacks have devolved into one-dimensional blockers who may only see action on one-fifth of a team's snaps - and they're lucky to touch the ball at all.
  • If the detectives are of differing abilities it devolves into a situation where one player is deciding the best move for everybody else.
  • Unfortunately, that intensity's exactly what's lacking in Yellowknife, a stylish road movie whose early promise devolves into a hash of bad sex and worse plotting.


late Middle English (in the sense 'roll down'): from Latin devolvere, from de- 'down' + volvere 'to roll'.



More example sentences
  • Since July 2000 we've seen the devolvement of health trusts and their staff into primary care trusts.
  • Let's grasp it and show the country that, with an elected mayor and a devolvement of power and authority to local level, Bolton can lead the way.
  • Firstly, whether that level of devolvement can be maintained for the future, looking at the great drain that it is on resources.

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