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devolve (verb) pass on (money, property, etc.); order someone to do your duty; deputize.

When money, property, etc., devolves on you, you get them as inheritance after the death of someone they belong to. 'The whole estate devolved on his nephew as he had no children.' This means that the nephew inherited the estate, the uncle having had no children. When a responsibility devolves on you, it is passed on to you by a higher authority. The responsibility of managing a firm devolves on you if the manager goes on a long leave or quits the job and if you are asked to take charge. You devolve power on your subordinates if you deputize them, that is, if you entrust them with some of your responsibilities.

  • The dead millionaire had no legal heirs and his property devolved on a person whom the government found out to be distantly related to the millionaire, and eligible to inherit the property.
  • The US government is a federal set-up in which the governance of the states devolves upon the elected representatives and officials of the state governments.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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