Revolution | Definition of Revolution by Merriam-Webster

revolution

noun
rev·​o·​lu·​tion | \ ˌre-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce revolution (audio) \

Definition of revolution

1a(1) : the action by a celestial body of going round in an orbit or elliptical course also : apparent movement of such a body round the earth
(2) : the time taken by a celestial body to make a complete round in its orbit
(3) : the rotation of a celestial body on its axis
b : completion of a course (as of years) also : the period made by the regular succession of a measure of time or by a succession of similar events
c(1) : a progressive motion of a body around an axis so that any line of the body parallel to the axis returns to its initial position while remaining parallel to the axis in transit and usually at a constant distance from it
(2) : motion of any figure about a center or axis revolution of a right triangle about one of its legs generates a cone
2a : a sudden, radical, or complete change
b : a fundamental change in political organization especially : the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed
c : activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation
d : a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something : a change of paradigm the Copernican revolution
e : a changeover in use or preference especially in technology the computer revolution the foreign car revolution

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Choose the Right Synonym for revolution

rebellion, revolution, uprising, revolt, insurrection, mutiny mean an outbreak against authority. rebellion implies an open formidable resistance that is often unsuccessful. open rebellion against the officers revolution applies to a successful rebellion resulting in a major change (as in government). a political revolution that toppled the monarchy uprising implies a brief, limited, and often immediately ineffective rebellion. quickly put down the uprising revolt and insurrection imply an armed uprising that quickly fails or succeeds. a revolt by the Young Turks that surprised party leaders an insurrection of oppressed laborers mutiny applies to group insubordination or insurrection especially against naval authority. a mutiny led by the ship's cook

Revolution and Revolt

Revolution and revolt have a shared origin, both ultimately going back to the Latin revolvere “to revolve, roll back.” When revolution first appeared in English in the 14th century, it referred to the movement of a celestial body in orbit; that sense was extended to “a progressive motion of a body around an axis,” “completion of a course,” and other senses suggesting regularity of motion or a predictable return to an original position. At virtually the same time, the word developed a sharply different meaning, namely, ”a sudden radical, or complete change,” apparently from the idea of reversal of direction implicit in the Latin verb. Revolt , which initially meant “to renounce allegiance,” grew from the same idea of “rolling back,” in this case from a prior bond of loyalty.

Examples of revolution in a Sentence

The group started a revolution. The king knew that there was a threat of revolution. This new theory could cause a revolution in elementary education. the revolution of the Earth around the Sun The period of revolution of the Earth around the Sun is equal to one year. The Earth makes one revolution on its axis in about 24 hours. This motor operates at a speed of 5,000 revolutions per minute.
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Recent Examples on the Web Jamie and Claire will experience a revolution of their own. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Outlander Season 6: Everything We Know," 10 Feb. 2021 The musical captured the resolute energy and optimistic sense of possibility that reverberated across the Arab world during the 18 days of the Egyptian uprising, as well as the sorrow and despondency of the revolution’s failures. Christopher Wallenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Boylston’s Lazour brothers give their songs from ‘Cairo’ a second life," 25 Jan. 2021 But the real action is intellectual, as Marat and Sade debate the nature of revolution. Adam Kirsch, The New York Review of Books, "The People’s Novel," 5 Jan. 2021 The whole series felt like an act of ostentatious difficulty: a bilingual show with a convoluted premise, shot in a country in the throes of a revolution. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "The Otherworldly Comedy of Julio Torres," 21 Dec. 2020 Yemeni women led the change in the peaceful revolution, and also in the transitional period. Joseph Hincks, Time, "She Helped Launch Yemen's Revolution. 10 Years On, Tawakkol Karman Still Believes Change Is Possible," 15 Jan. 2021 Now social media and a comfort with Tinder-like swiping and Uber-like simplicity were ushering in another revolution to bypass the sperm banks altogether. New York Times, "The Sperm Kings Have a Problem: Too Much Demand," 8 Jan. 2021 Martin Luther's 95 Theses launched a religious revolution that became the Protestant Reformation. Arkansas Online, "Going too far," 17 Jan. 2021 China's digital revolution has transformed daily life, and many of these systems rely on a limited list of standardized Chinese characters. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Why 1.2 billion people share the same 100 surnames in China," 16 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'revolution.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of revolution

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for revolution

Middle English revolucioun, from Middle French revolution, from Late Latin revolution-, revolutio, from Latin revolvere to revolve

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Learn More about revolution

Time Traveler for revolution

Time Traveler

The first known use of revolution was in the 14th century

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Statistics for revolution

Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Revolution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/revolution. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for revolution

revolution

noun

English Language Learners Definition of revolution

: the usually violent attempt by many people to end the rule of one government and start a new one
: a sudden, extreme, or complete change in the way people live, work, etc.
: the action of moving around something in a path that is similar to a circle

revolution

noun
rev·​o·​lu·​tion | \ ˌre-və-ˈlü-shən How to pronounce revolution (audio) \

Kids Definition of revolution

1 : the action by a heavenly body of going round in a fixed course The revolution of the earth around the sun marks one year.
2 : a spinning motion around a center or axis : rotation A light push started the globe's revolution.
3 : a single complete turn (as of a wheel) The earth makes one revolution on its axis in 24 hours.
4 : a sudden, extreme, or complete change (as in manner of living or working)
5 : the overthrow of a ruler or government by violent action

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Comments on revolution

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