[ dih-volv ]
See synonyms for devolve on
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.

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.

Origin of devolve

1375–1425; late Middle English devolven<Latin dēvolvere to roll down, equivalent to dē-de- + volvere to roll

Other words from devolve

  • de·volve·ment, noun

Words Nearby devolve Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use devolve in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for devolve


/ (dɪˈvɒlv) /

  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

  1. (intr; foll by on or upon) to depend (on): your argument devolves on how you interpret this clause

  2. archaic to roll down or cause to roll down

Origin of devolve

C15: from Latin dēvolvere to roll down, fall into, from de- + volvere to roll

Derived forms of devolve

  • devolvement, noun

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