Definition of gradient in English:


Line breaks: gra¦di|ent
Pronunciation: /ˈgreɪdɪənt


  • 1An inclined part of a road or railway; a slope: fail-safe brakes for use on steep gradients
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    • By following the ridge of the city's hills, it provides tolerable gradients and avoids steep inclines, which proliferate in the city's side streets.
    • Road sections which included steep gradients, major drainage structures and thick chip seal surface layers were normally excluded.
    • For traffic driving east, the road descends down a gradient of 0.023 through a wooded area with trees overhanging the road on both sides.
    slope, incline, hill, rise, rising ground, bank, ramp, acclivity; drop, descent, declivity; North American grade
  • 1.1The degree of a slope: the path becomes very rough as the gradient increases
    More example sentences
    • The lower 150m section has a gentle gradient of 12 degrees providing an ample and safe area to test out those first turns.
    • Therefore if Cross-rail precedes electrification, then diesel units would be used for cross-city services which would easily negotiate the gradients and angles.
    • It had a gradient of about 45 degrees and was strewn with loose rocks and boulders.
  • 1.2 Mathematics The degree of steepness of a graph at any point.
    More example sentences
    • The abrupt changes in gradient visible in the graph are caused when the number of relevant genetic backgrounds i max changes from one integer value to the next.
    • Differentiation is a method of working out the gradient of a curve - how quickly one variable changes with respect to another.
    • In a moment we will demonstrate what the gradient of the curve at a point is, by examining a limiting argument.
  • 2 Physics An increase or decrease in the magnitude of a property (e.g. temperature, pressure, or concentration) observed in passing from one point or moment to another.
    More example sentences
    • Distinct gradients in pressure were observed throughout the contact area.
    • We observed a gradient in the depth of the selective sweep, which becomes progressively deeper as you get nearer to the gene.
    • I assure you, however, I have accurately mapped the topological surface density and transitional energy gradients of the timeline in question.
  • 2.1The rate of such a change.
  • 2.2 Mathematics The vector formed by the operator ∇ acting on a scalar function at a given point in a scalar field.


mid 19th century: from grade, on the pattern of salient.

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