[ koh-ev-uh-loo-shuhn or, especially British, -ee-vuh- ]
/ ˌkoʊ ɛv əˈlu ʃən or, especially British, -i və- /
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evolution involving a series of reciprocal changes in two or more noninterbreeding populations that have a close ecological relationship and act as agents of natural selection for each other, as the succession of adaptations of a predator for pursuing and of its prey for fleeing or evading.
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Origin of coevolution

First recorded in 1960–65; co- + evolution

OTHER WORDS FROM coevolution

co·ev·o·lu·tion·ar·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use coevolution in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for coevolution

/ (kəʊˌiːvəˈluːʃən) /

the evolution of complementary adaptations in two or more species of organisms because of a special relationship that exists between them, as in insect-pollinated plants and their insect pollinators
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

Scientific definitions for coevolution

[ kō′ĕv-ə-lōōshən ]

The evolution of two or more species that interact closely with one another, with each species adapting to changes in the other. The mutually beneficial development of flowering plants and insects such as bees and butterflies that pollinate them is an example of coevolution, as is the mutually antagonistic development of prey and predator species in which defensive adaptations in the one are matched by counteradaptations in the other aimed at neutralizing or overcoming them.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for coevolution


The process that occurs when two species influence each other during evolution. For example, an insect may evolve specialized parts that allow it to feed on a specific flower, whereas the flower evolves to facilitate pollination by that particular insect.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.