[ rev-uh-loo-shuhn ]
/ ˌrɛv əˈlu ʃən /

WATCH NOW: Why Are Only Some Wars Called "Revolutions"?

WATCH NOW: Why Are Only Some Wars Called "Revolutions"?

There's a reason why some wars include the word revolution in their names and why others don't. Is it because revolutions completely overhaul the old way of doing things, they inspire something new in all of us?



Origin of revolution

1350–1400; Middle English revolucion < Late Latin revolūtiōn- (stem of revolūtiō), equivalent to revolūt(us) (see revolute) + -iōn- -ion

Related forms

Can be confused

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

Examples from the Web for revolution

British Dictionary definitions for revolution


/ (ˌrɛvəˈluːʃən) /


Word Origin for revolution

C14: via Old French from Late Latin revolūtiō, from Latin revolvere to revolve
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

Science definitions for revolution


[ rĕv′ə-lōōshən ]

The motion of an object around a point, especially around another object or a center of mass.
A single complete cycle of such motion.


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.”
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.