devolution

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dev·o·lu·tion

(dev'ō-lū'shŭn),
A continuing process of degeneration or breaking down, in contrast to evolution.
See also: involution, catabolism.
[L. de-volvo, pp. -volutus, to roll down]

devolution

(dĕv′ə-lo͞o′shən, dē′və-)
n.
1. A passing down or descent through successive stages of time or a process.
2. Transference, as of rights or qualities, to a successor.
3. Delegation of authority or duties to a subordinate or substitute.
4. A transfer of powers from a central government to local units.
5. Biology Degeneration.

dev′o·lu′tion·ar′y (-shə-nĕr′ē) adj.
dev′o·lu′tion·ist n.