Definition of accretion in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /əˈkriːʃ(ə)n/


[mass noun]
1Growth or increase by the gradual accumulation of additional layers or matter: the accretion of sediments in coastal mangroves figurative the growing accretion of central government authority
More example sentences
  • Usually when one talks about a Darwinian explanation for something, the intention is to explain how the prolonged action of natural selection led to the formation of a complex structure through a process of gradual accretion.
  • His auspicious debut might have given him the leverage to realize some of his grander plans, but the Simon Fraser film grad says his films have grown by steady accretion of ideas and details, rather than an overarching scheme.
  • A sample curve would probably be organised in a series of steps - with gradual accretion of insight being the normal, but with occasional significant massive leaps also occurring.
accumulation, collecting, gathering, amassing, cumulation, accrual, growth, formation, enlargement, increase, gain, augmentation, rise, mushrooming, snowballing
rare amassment
1.1 [count noun] A thing formed or added by gradual growth or increase: the city has a historic core surrounded by recent accretions
More example sentences
  • To this end, the State Apartments were stripped of recent accretions with the exception of the Bedchamber, which remains to this day more or less as used by Princess Victoria.
  • Instead of demolition, however, Swan Hall enjoyed the most devoted restoration of its long life. The team working for Rochford Hall Ltd stripped out the uglier accretions of the centuries, exposing the wondrous oak framework.
  • Beyond these accretions and intentional change, the space, the vistas, the juxtapositions and potential paths generated by the new building are probably the greatest difference.
addition, extension, growth, appendage, add-on, supplement
1.2 Astronomy The coming together and cohesion of matter under the influence of gravitation to form larger bodies: during the later stages of accretion the outer 100 km or so of the Moon melted
More example sentences
  • We also need to know which clusters have experienced a recent substantial gravitational accretion of mass, and which clusters are in a stage of collision and merging.
  • We are told that the earth formed by accretion of cosmic dust billions of years ago.
  • This energy input could have a profound effect on the evolution of the galaxy by triggering the formation of stars, or inhibiting the growth of the galaxy through accretion of matter from intergalactic space.



Example sentences
  • Having Dobyns represent this veritable ocean is like having Hejinian represent not just that stretch of accretive shoreline called Language poetry but the entire business of circumference.
  • In ‘The Sea-Cucumber’, George Johnston's son has discovered how to make the most of his extraordinary gifts, his encyclopaedic knowledge, accretive wit, sudden darts of speculative fancy.
  • In the first instance, it should be noted that the process of change that they inaugurated was gradual and accretive rather than immediate and imposed, reflecting an ideal of cooperative participation of public and private interests.


Early 17th century: from Latin accretio(n-), from accrescere 'become larger' (see accrete).

Words that rhyme with accretion

Capetian, completion, concretion, deletion, depletion, Diocletian, excretion, Grecian, Helvetian, repletion, Rhodesian, secretion, suppletion, Tahitian, venetian

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ac¦cre|tion

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.