[dev-uh-loo-shuhn or, esp. British, dee-vuh-]
the act or fact of devolving; passage onward from stage to stage.
the passing on to a successor of an unexercised right.
Law. the passing of property from one to another, as by hereditary succession.
Biology, degeneration.
the transfer of power or authority from a central government to a local government.

1535–45; (< Middle French) < Medieval Latin dēvolūtiōn- (stem of dēvolūtiō) a rolling down, equivalent to Latin dēvolūt(us) rolled down (past participle of dēvolvere; see devolve) + -iōn- -ion

devolutionary, adjective, noun
devolutionist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
devolution (ˌdiːvəˈluːʃən)
1.  the act, fact, or result of devolving
2.  a passing onwards or downwards from one stage to another
3.  another word for degeneration
4.  a transfer or allocation of authority, esp from a central government to regional governments or particular interests
[C16: from Medieval Latin dēvolūtiō a rolling down, from Latin dēvolvere to roll down, sink into; see devolve]
n, —adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1545, from de- + (e)volution. Used in various legal and fig. senses; in biology, as the opposite of evolution, it is attested from 1882.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The juxtaposition of the rosy rhetoric about devolution and the dour reality of
  funding makes clear the fundamental dilemma.
And devolution law says that actions by ministers, and those who work under
  them, must conform to human-rights law.
The same thing can be said about devolution or regression.
The first is that political devolution risks being tokenistic without financial
  devolution giving councils more power over taxes.
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