late 14c., revolven, "to change; change direction, bend around," from Old French revolver and directly from Latin revolvere "roll back, unroll, unwind; happen again, return; go over, repeat," from re- "back, again" (see re-) + volvere "to roll" (from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve").
From early 15c. as "to turn over (in the mind or heart), meditate." Also formerly "to pass through periodic changes," hence "to come around in process of time" (1590s).
The transitive sense of "cause (something) to move in an orbit around a central point" is from 1660s. Intransitive sense of "perform a circular motion" about or round a fixed point, as the planets about the sun, is by 1713; that of "rotate, turn or roll about upon an axis or center" is by 1738. Related: Revolved; revolving; revolvement; revolvency.
updated on August 08, 2021