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devolve

[dih-volv]
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verb (used with object), de·volved, de·volv·ing.
  1. to transfer or delegate (a duty, responsibility, etc.) to or upon another; pass on.
  2. Obsolete. to cause to roll downward.
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verb (used without object), de·volved, de·volv·ing.
  1. to be transferred or passed on from one to another: The responsibility devolved on me.
  2. Archaic. to roll or flow downward.
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Origin of devolve

1375–1425; late Middle English devolven < Latin dēvolvere to roll down, equivalent to dē- de- + volvere to roll
Related formsde·volve·ment, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for devolve

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Leisure for the grand duties which devolve on the lords of mankind.

    Cyropaedia

    Xenophon

  • Please bear in mind that it does not devolve upon you to decide that question.

    Peggy Stewart at School

    Gabrielle E. Jackson

  • Thou art his only son, and on thee his duties will now devolve.

  • Charlotte begged that on herself might devolve the care of furnishing it.

    Rich Enough

    Hannah Farnham Sawyer Lee

  • Your lands, your principalities, to devolve on the child of an humble Englishman!

    My Novel, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton


British Dictionary definitions for devolve

devolve

verb
  1. (foll by on, upon, to, etc) to pass or cause to pass to a successor or substitute, as duties, power, etc
  2. (intr; foll by on or upon) law (of an estate, etc) to pass to another by operation of law, esp on intestacy or bankruptcy
  3. (intr; foll by on or upon) to depend (on)your argument devolves on how you interpret this clause
  4. archaic to roll down or cause to roll down
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Derived Formsdevolvement, 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

Word Origin and History for devolve

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper