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From Latin involūtiō, from involvō.



involution (countable and uncountable, plural involutions)

  1. Entanglement; a spiralling inwards; intricacy.
    • 1938, Xavier Herbert, chapter V, in Capricornia[1], page 74:
      [] usually his attention was diverted from her feet by her shrieks of laughter and the astounding involutions of her huge brown-yellow frame.
    • 1968, Anthony Burgess, “Enderby Outside”, in The Complete Enderby, published 2002, page 302:
      ‘Gomez,’ said the mortician, ‘is an expert only on the involutions of his own rectum.’
  2. A complicated grammatical construction.
    • 1917, James Huneker, Unicorns, New York: Scribner, Chapter 11 “Style and Rhythm in English Prose,” p. 129,[2]
      Walter Pater’s essay on Style is honeycombed with involutions and preciosity.
  3. (mathematics) An endofunction whose square is equal to the identity function; a function equal to its inverse.
    Hyponyms: complex conjugation, complementation
    • 1996, Alfred J. Menezesm; Paul C. van Oorschot; Scott A. Vanstone, Handbook of Applied Cryptography, CRC Press, page 10:
      Involutions have the property that they are their own inverses.
  4. (medicine) The shrinking of an organ (such as the uterus) to a former size.
  5. (physiology) The regressive changes in the body occurring with old age.
  6. (mathematics, obsolete) A power: the result of raising one number to the power of another.
  7. (economics, social sciences, of a society or nation) A cessation of development or progress despite intense inner competition.
  8. (neologism, slang) A state of increased competition for limited resources, requiring great effort to stay ahead.

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