Ev`o*lu"tion (?), n. [L.
evolutio an unrolling: cf. F. évolution
evolution. See Evolve.] 1. The act of
unfolding or unrolling; hence, in the process of growth; development;
as, the evolution of a flower from a bud, or an animal from
2. A series of things unrolled or
unfolded. "The whole evolution of ages." Dr. H.
3. (Geom.) The formation of an
involute by unwrapping a thread from a curve as an evolute.
4. (Arith. & Alg.) The extraction of
roots; -- the reverse of involution.
5. (Mil. & Naval) A prescribed
movement of a body of troops, or a vessel or fleet; any movement
designed to effect a new arrangement or disposition; a
Those evolutions are best which can be executed
with the greatest celerity, compatible with regularity.
6. (Biol.) (a) A
general name for the history of the steps by which any living
organism has acquired the morphological and physiological characters
which distinguish it; a gradual unfolding of successive phases of
growth or development. (b) That theory of
generation which supposes the germ to preëxist in the parent,
and its parts to be developed, but not actually formed, by the
procreative act; -- opposed to epigenesis.
7. (Metaph.) That series of changes
under natural law which involves continuous progress from the
homogeneous to the heterogeneous in structure, and from the single
and simple to the diverse and manifold in quality or function. The
pocess is by some limited to organic beings; by others it is applied
to the inorganic and the psychical. It is also applied to explain the
existence and growth of institutions, manners, language,
civilization, and every product of human activity. The agencies and
laws of the process are variously explained by different
Evolution is to me series with