See also: dévolution


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Borrowed from Middle French dévolution, from Medieval Latin devolutio, devolutionis, from Latin devolvo.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /diːvəˈluːʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːʃən


devolution (plural devolutions)

  1. A rolling down.
  2. A descent, especially one that passes through a series of revolutions, or by succession
  3. The transference of a right to a successor, or of a power from one body to another.
  4. (derogatory) Degeneration (as opposed to evolution).
    • 1981, William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture, London: Rider/Hutchinson & Co., page 186:
      He is the place where the devolution from Heaven and the evolution from earth meet.
    It is quite disheartening to witness the devolution of our nation's political discourse over the past several years.
  5. (government) The transfer of some powers and the delegation of some functions from a central government to local government (e.g. from the U.K. parliament to Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly).
    The question of whether England should receive devolution like Scotland and Wales have has dogged British politics for years.
    • 2020 November 4, Philip Haigh, “Cracks and divisions over funding for public transport”, in Rail, page 55:
      Governments like devolution because it gives ministers someone else to blame for problems.

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