- a turning round or rotating, as on an axis.
- a moving in a circular or curving course, as about a central point.
- a single cycle in such a course.
- (not in technical use) rotation(def 2).
- the orbiting of one heavenly body around another.
- a single course of such movement.
- revolution counter,
- revolutionary calendar,
- revolutionary war,
- revolutionary wars
Origin of revolution
- movement in or as if in a circle
- one complete turn in such a circlea turntable rotating at 33 revolutions per minute
- the orbital motion of one body, such as a planet or satellite, around anotherCompare rotation (def. 5a)
- one complete turn in such motion
Word Origin for revolution
late 14c., originally of celestial bodies, from Old French revolucion "course, revolution (of celestial bodies)" (13c.), or directly from Late Latin revolutionem (nominative revolutio) "a revolving," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin revolvere "turn, roll back" (see revolve).
General sense of "instance of great change in affairs" is recorded from mid-15c. Political meaning "overthrow of an established political system" first recorded c.1600, derived from French, and was especially applied to the expulsion of the Stuart dynasty under James II in 1688 and transfer of sovereignty to William and Mary.
In everyday speech revolution and rotation are often used as synonyms, but in science they are not synonyms and have distinct meanings. The difference between the two terms lies in the location of the central axis that the object turns about. If the axis is outside the body itself-that is, if the object is orbiting about another object-then one complete orbit is called a revolution. But if the object is turning about an axis that passes through itself, then one complete cycle is called a rotation. This difference is often summed up in the statement Earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the Sun.