9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dih-volv] /dɪˈvɒlv/
verb (used with object), devolved, devolving.
to transfer or delegate (a duty, responsibility, etc.) to or upon another; pass on.
Obsolete. to cause to roll downward.
verb (used without object), devolved, devolving.
to be transferred or passed on from one to another:
The responsibility devolved on me.
Archaic. to roll or flow downward.
Origin of devolve
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English devolven < Latin dēvolvere to roll down, equivalent to dē- de- + volvere to roll
Related forms
devolvement, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for devolve
  • The constant worry is that direct talks will devolve into recriminations and new violence.
  • They insist that any such process would devolve into partisan backbiting from which this country could never recover.
  • Most people would rather devolve this sort of responsibility to the authorities.
  • They tend to devolve into wild yet perfunctory gore.
  • Lately, an increasing number of the discussions devolve into name-calling and bickering.
  • Characters devolve into ideas that have somehow found human hosts.
  • MS, resist that urge to devolve into horrible cynicism.
  • There was little point in their grand experiment if they let it devolve into sullen chaos right from the inception.
  • The argument for legalizing pot evolves as other arguments devolve.
  • Economic policies of the political right devolve to demographic trends favoring the left.
British Dictionary definitions for devolve


foll by on, upon, to, etc. to pass or cause to pass to a successor or substitute, as duties, power, etc
(intransitive; foll by on or upon) (law) (of an estate, etc) to pass to another by operation of law, esp on intestacy or bankruptcy
(intransitive; foll by on or upon) to depend (on): your argument devolves on how you interpret this clause
(archaic) to roll down or cause to roll down
Derived Forms
devolvement, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin dēvolvere to roll down, fall into, from de- + volvere to roll
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for devolve

early 15c., "to roll down," from Latin devolvere "to roll down," from de- (see de-) + volvere "to roll" (see volvox). Figurative sense of "to cause to pass down" is from 1520s. Related: Devolved; devolving. Also in same sense was devolute (1530s), from Latin devolutus, past participle of devolvere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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