from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Orbital motion about a point, especially as distinguished from axial rotation.
  • noun A turning or rotational motion about an axis.
  • noun A single complete cycle of such orbital or axial motion.
  • noun The overthrow of one government and its replacement with another.
  • noun A sudden or momentous change in a situation.
  • noun Geology A time of major crustal deformation, when folds and faults are formed.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In astrology, the annual return of the sun to the place he occupied at one's birth, from which, according as he may be aspected, an augury is derived regarding the complexion of the ensuing year of life.
  • noun The act of revolving or turning completely round, so as to bring every point of the turning body back to its first position; a complete rotation through 360°. Where the distinction is of importance, this is called a rotation.
  • noun The act of moving completely around a circular or oval course, independently of any rotation.
  • noun A round of periodic or recurrent changes or events; a cycle, especially of time: as, the revolutions of the seasons, or of the hours of the day and night.
  • noun Hence A recurrent period or moment in time.
  • noun A total change of circumstances; a complete alteration in character, system, or conditions.
  • noun Specifically A radical change in social or governmental conditions; the overthrow of an established political system, generally accompanied by far-reaching social changes.
  • noun The act of rolling or moving back; a return to a point previously occupied.
  • noun The act of revolving or turning to and fro in the mind; consideration; hence, open deliberation; discussion.
  • noun The winding or turning of a spiral about its axis, as a spiral of a shell about the columella; one of the coils or whorls thus produced; a volution; a turn.
  • noun Synonyms See insurrection.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of revolving, or turning round on an axis or a center; the motion of a body round a fixed point or line; rotation
  • noun Return to a point before occupied, or to a point relatively the same; a rolling back; return.
  • noun The space measured by the regular return of a revolving body; the period made by the regular recurrence of a measure of time, or by a succession of similar events.
  • noun (Astron.) The motion of any body, as a planet or satellite, in a curved line or orbit, until it returns to the same point again, or to a point relatively the same; -- designated as the annual, anomalistic, nodical, sidereal, or tropical revolution, according as the point of return or completion has a fixed relation to the year, the anomaly, the nodes, the stars, or the tropics
  • noun (Geom.) The motion of a point, line, or surface about a point or line as its center or axis, in such a manner that a moving point generates a curve, a moving line a surface (called a surface of revolution), and a moving surface a solid (called a solid of revolution)
  • noun A total or radical change.
  • noun (Politics) A fundamental change in political organization, or in a government or constitution; the overthrow or renunciation of one government, and the substitution of another, by the governed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A political upheaval in a government or nation state characterized by great change.
  • noun The removal and replacement of a government.
  • noun Rotation: the turning of an object around an axis.
  • noun A rotation: one complete turn of an object during rotation.
  • noun In the case of celestial bodies - the traversal of one body through an orbit around another body.
  • noun A sudden, vast change in a situation, a discipline, or the way of thinking and behaving.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a single complete turn (axial or orbital)
  • noun a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving
  • noun the overthrow of a government by those who are governed


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English revolucioun, from Old French revolution, from Late Latin revolūtiō, revolūtiōn-, from Latin revolūtus, past participle of revolvere, to turn over; see revolve.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English reuolucion, from Old French revolution, from Late Latin revolūtiōnem, accusative singular of revolūtiō ("the act of revolving; revolution"), from Latin revolvō ("roll back, revolve"); see revolve.


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  • Online, said the term "revolution" was "a little drastic" for what was going on.

    A Stylist's Roll-On Face 'Revolution' Lizzie Simon 2011

  • At that time Khomeini's old friend grand Ayatollah Shariatmadari wrote a fatwa denouncing the events and for the first time used the term revolution using one of the verses of the Quran.

    Negotiation with Iranian government, neglecting the Iranian people: 2009

  • If you remember Figure 2.1 from Chapter 2, you might wonder whether this leap in performance from classic mass production, as practiced by GM, to classic lean production, as performed by Toyota, really deserves the term revolution.

    The Machine That Changed the World James P. Womack 2007

  • If you remember Figure 2.1 from Chapter 2, you might wonder whether this leap in performance from classic mass production, as practiced by GM, to classic lean production, as performed by Toyota, really deserves the term revolution.

    The Machine That Changed the World James P. Womack 2007

  • In recent years the term revolution has been used to describe changes in SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY and in terms of PARADIGMS following the work of Thomas KUHN.

    Concise Dictionary of Religion 1993

  • In the West, the term revolution is now most commonly used to denote some above-average variation in style of life, production methods, or marketing; elsewhere it serves to designate violent seizures of power of the kind that used to be called coups d'état.

    Islamic Revolution Lewis, Bernard 1988

  • The term revolution in these cases stresses the suddenness and the radical nature of the new development; it has no further implication than to signify a change brought about by


  • The sum total of such changes may be claimed to have revolutionised warfare, but the term revolution should be reserved, for some more specific scientific innovation, which threatens to change the nature of war rather than merely improve existing weapons.

    The riddle of the Rhine, chemical strategy in peace and war ... 1921

  • WE generally apply the term revolution to sudden political changes, but the expression may be employed to denote all sudden transformations, or transformations apparently sudden, whether of beliefs, ideas, or doctrines.

    The Psychology of Revolution 1913

  • "There is an internal conflict, the word revolution is not being used - it is a not a revolutionary situation, believe me," he said.

    Reuters: Press Release 2012


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