As we can see there are many antonyms for the word evolution.

Please help me choose an appropriate antonym that would modify the word leadership. I need it as I want to translate into English the following title of the article:

Cozmin Gușă about Brexit: European leadership (the requested word) will generate a chain reaction

From the link I provided I'd pick up either decline or devaluation but I'm not sure. The word regression might do the job but I'm not sure either. Is it a good fit?

In my language would be easier as the perfect antonym of the word evolution is involution but its use in English (according to the on-line dictionaries) is limited to fewer fields such as: physiology, biology, medicine, etc.

I may have an additional question about the same evolution's antonym in case we can think of a language degeneration, or the so called degeneration would actually be an evolution too? So what would be the antonym for the language evolution?


3 Answers 3


It's hard without knowing the context of the article, which I don't know how to read. Rather than point to a word you don't want, it might be worth circumlocution to describe what you do want to express.

Devolution comes to mind from sound alone, but that refers to power becoming more distributed after being centralized. Strictly speaking, evolution doesn't have a direction and so it won't have a direction-implying antonym as you are seeking. If you are looking for a word that means something like "going backwards to an earlier state", I would favor regress.


Political involution is an expression that you can use:


From : Genoa and the Sea:

  • ... in terms of amounts of money and in terms of numbers of people involved). This period was also one of marked political involution, during which...

From South Africa's role in conflict :

  • The past characteristics of the Congolese state - corruption, personalisation of power, and ethnicity - continue to prevail during this transition. The result is a process of political involution centred on a handful of rent- seeking cronies, leading to ...

I would go for weakening in this context. The leadership of the EU is weakened by Brexit. I would also amend the word order to "The weakening of European leadership will generate a chain reaction…"

  • I appreciate your help. Mar 9, 2018 at 18:05

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