[ dih-volv ]
/ dɪˈvɒlv /

verb (used with object), de·volved, de·volv·ing.

to transfer or delegate (a duty, responsibility, etc.) to or upon another; pass on.
Obsolete. to cause to roll downward.

verb (used without object), de·volved, de·volv·ing.

to be transferred or passed on from one to another: The responsibility devolved on me.
Archaic. to roll or flow downward.

Nearby words

  1. devoid,
  2. devoir,
  3. devoirs,
  4. devolatilize,
  5. devolution,
  6. devon,
  7. devon island,
  8. devon minnow,
  9. devon rex,
  10. devonian

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for devolve

British Dictionary definitions for devolve


/ (dɪˈvɒlv) /


(foll by on, upon, to, etc) to pass or cause to pass to a successor or substitute, as duties, power, etc
(intr; foll by on or upon) law (of an estate, etc) to pass to another by operation of law, esp on intestacy or bankruptcy
(intr; 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 Formsdevolvement, noun

Word Origin for devolve

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



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