[rev-uh-loo-shuh n] /ˌrɛv əˈlu ʃən/

an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.
Sociology. a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure, especially one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence.
Compare .
a sudden, complete or marked change in something:
the present revolution in church architecture.
a procedure or course, as if in a circuit, back to a starting point.
a single turn of this kind.


a round or cycle of events in time or a recurring period of time.
Geology. a time of worldwide orogeny and mountain-building.
the overthrow or repudiation of a regime or political system by the governed
(in Marxist theory) the violent and historically necessary transition from one system of production in a society to the next, as from feudalism to capitalism
a far-reaching and drastic change, esp in ideas, methods, etc


a cycle of successive events or changes
(geology, obsolete) a profound change in conditions over a large part of the earth’s surface, esp one characterized by mountain building: an orogenic revolution

late 14c., originally of celestial bodies, from Old French revolucion “course, revolution (of celestial bodies)” (13c.), or directly from Late Latin revolutionem (nominative revolutio) “a revolving,” noun of action from past participle stem of Latin revolvere “turn, roll back” (see revolve).

General sense of “instance of great change in affairs” is recorded from mid-15c. Political meaning “overthrow of an established political system” first recorded c.1600, derived from French, and was especially applied to the expulsion of the Stuart dynasty under James II in 1688 and transfer of sovereignty to William and Mary.

Our Living Language : In everyday speech revolution and rotation are often used as synonyms, but in science they are not synonyms and have distinct meanings. The difference between the two terms lies in the location of the central axis that the object turns about. If the axis is outside the body itself—that is, if the object is orbiting about another object—then one complete orbit is called a revolution. But if the object is turning about an axis that passes through itself, then one complete cycle is called a rotation. This difference is often summed up in the statement “Earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the Sun.”


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