Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

gradual

play
noun grad·u·al \ˈgra-jə-wəl, -jəl, ˈgraj-wəl\

Definition of gradual

  1. 1 :  a book containing the choral parts of the Mass

  2. 2 :  a pair of verses (as from the Psalms) proper after the Epistle in the Mass



Origin of gradual

Middle English, from Medieval Latin graduale, from Latin gradus step; from its being sung on the steps of the altar


First Known Use: 15th century


2

gradual

adjective grad·u·al

Simple Definition of gradual

  • : moving or changing in small amounts : happening in a slow way over a long period of time

  • : not steep

Full Definition of gradual

  1. 1 :  proceeding by steps or degrees

  2. 2 :  moving, changing, or developing by fine or often imperceptible degrees

grad·u·al·ly adverb
grad·u·al·ness noun

Examples of gradual

  1. We noticed a gradual change in temperature.

  2. The hospital has made gradual improvements in health care.



Origin of gradual

Medieval Latin gradualis, from Latin gradus


First Known Use: 1658

Rhymes with gradual


GRADUAL Defined for Kids

gradual

play
adjective grad·u·al \ˈgra-jə-wəl\

Definition of gradual

  1. :  moving or happening by steps or degrees <We watched the gradual approach of the train.>

grad·u·al·ly adverb <Rain gradually ended.>


Word Root of gradual

The Latin word gradus, meaning “step” or “degree,” gives us the root grad. Words from the Latin gradus have something to do with steps. Anything gradual happens slowly one step at a time. To degrade is to reduce from a higher to a lower degree. A grade is a step in school made up of one year of work. Even the word degree itself has gradus as its root.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up gradual? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

196.5 pounds 2.2 pounds 100 pounds 16.96 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ