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Definition of "devolve" []

  • To pass on or delegate to another: The senator devolved the duties of office upon a group of aides. (verb-transitive)
  • Archaic To cause to roll onward or downward. (verb-transitive)
  • To be passed on or transferred to another: The burden of proof devolved upon the defendant. The estate devolved to an unlikely heir. (verb-intransitive)
  • To degenerate or deteriorate gradually: After several hours the discussion had devolved into a shouting match. (verb-intransitive)
  • Archaic To roll onward or downward. (verb-intransitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "devolve" in a sentence
  • "He didn't use the word devolve'' and he's coming off a heroic performance in Detroit, but that's the deal."
  • "Will a new McCarthyism devolve from the current "Tea-Party" movement that exists only to attempt to deny the fact that Barack Obama is in fact a United States Citizen and has legitimately been elected President of all Americans?"
  • ""I don't mean to have this call devolve into a 'relationship' call," Davis said, before leading the pack of journalists down precisely that trail -- bringing up (and distorting) Obama's description of Bill Ayers as "just one of my friends in the neighborhood.""