Happy 100-year anniversary of the October Revolution! The word revolution, from Old French revolucion, traces to Latin revolver, which literally meant "to revolve", or more figuratively, a "turning over" of power. The term was first used to describe the Glorious Revolution in 1688, where power was turned over peacefully, but that was soon extended to violent overthrows and coups, which later could also mean "dramatic change" (e.g. the Industrial Revolution). Continuing where we left off, revolver is a combination of the prefix re- ("again"), and volvere, or "to roll". Re- comes from a Proto-Indo-European word that sounded very similar and meant about the same thing, and volvere is from PIE wel, also carrying a connotation of "revolve". Looking at the usages of revolution over time is pretty interesting; the word, of course, peaks when there's an ongoing revolt.
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd