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A continuing process of degeneration or breaking down, in contrast to evolution.
See also: involution, catabolism.
[L. de-volvo, pp. -volutus, to roll down]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


(dĕv′ə-lo͞o′shən, dē′və-)
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.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(6) In the Scottish context the outburst of literary experimentation in devolutionary fiction was never less than politically motivated, expressive of an ethical impulse to represent the marginalised and the outsider and give space to their suppressed voices.
There's no doubt merger would be a devolutionary statement, giving the Welsh Government greater powers to drive through the policies it wants, free of outside interference and of mixed messages from different public bodies.
Conceptually, this federal role shifts traditional devolutionary arguments in some interesting ways.
And, significantly, in this instance Schoene labels non-phallic masculinity 'devolutionary', tying such a development to Scotland's national status; this is a reference to the reinstatement of the Scottish parliament in an act of partial devolution from the British state in 1999.
It's an evolutionary (or devolutionary) process that is changing the way we shop and form relationships, and even the way we think.
At the very least it would have gotten people talking to their neighbors, an essential element of the devolutionary project.
(7) Increased individual wealth, an aging population, and recent devolutionary trends across governments worldwide combine to set the stage for continued rapid growth in the sector.
Mission drift denotes a devolutionary process familiar to most scholars who study the history of public institutions: the process of co-opting a successful and well-conceived process (or in this case a marginally successful process), then gradually and mindlessly expanding it until it is no longer capable of performing its original function--the familiar Peter Principle, as applied to institutions (Peter and Hull 1969) The gradual expansion of public schools from relatively simple, locally administered educational institutions to complex socioeconomic institutions remotely controlled by a web of local, state, and federal agencies is a prime example of mission drift.
The oldsters blame marijuana for the creeping dissolution of village society and culture--a devolutionary complaint, as many have noted, very typical in oral societies in which death and not drugs constantly erode the mental bank of cultural knowledge (see, e.g., Ong 1982).
This devolutionary political impetus is mirrored in the world of media and entertainment, where the BBC, the nation's cultural flagship, is planning to move several program departments and 1,800 staff to Manchester over the next five years, and to strengthen its commissioning presence in Glasgow, Bristol and Birmingham.
Or, as Vonnegut invites us to ask ourselves in the post-evolutionary (devolutionary?) fable Galapagos and elsewhere, are we not better off by identifying ourselves with, and perhaps becoming, a different species, "posthuman"?