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90s Slang You Should Know


[dih-volv] /dɪˈvɒlv/
verb (used with object), devolved, devolving.
to transfer or delegate (a duty, responsibility, etc.) to or upon another; pass on.
Obsolete. to cause to roll downward.
verb (used without object), devolved, devolving.
to be transferred or passed on from one to another:
The responsibility devolved on me.
Archaic. to roll or flow downward.
Origin of devolve
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English devolven < Latin dēvolvere to roll down, equivalent to dē- de- + volvere to roll
Related forms
devolvement, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for devolve
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But Pomona never objected to sitting (or getting) up late, and so we allowed this weekly duty to devolve on her.

    Rudder Grange Frank R. Stockton
  • What larger responsibilities may devolve upon him can only be guessed.

    An African Adventure Isaac F. Marcosson
  • In a great public school the duties that devolve on a captain of football are laborious and responsible.

  • He must be shown that it is immoral for man to devolve back to the animal level.

  • In his absence, the charge of the hospital will devolve on me, and my time will thus be employed through the coming winter.

British Dictionary definitions for devolve


foll by on, upon, to, etc. to pass or cause to pass to a successor or substitute, as duties, power, etc
(intransitive; foll by on or upon) (law) (of an estate, etc) to pass to another by operation of law, esp on intestacy or bankruptcy
(intransitive; foll by on or upon) to depend (on): your argument devolves on how you interpret this clause
(archaic) to roll down or cause to roll down
Derived Forms
devolvement, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin dēvolvere to roll down, fall into, from de- + volvere to roll
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for devolve

early 15c., "to roll down," from Latin devolvere "to roll down," from de- (see de-) + volvere "to roll" (see volvox). Figurative sense of "to cause to pass down" is from 1520s. Related: Devolved; devolving. Also in same sense was devolute (1530s), from Latin devolutus, past participle of devolvere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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