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

Definition of GRADUAL

:  a book containing the choral parts of the Mass
:  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



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

: not steep

Full Definition of GRADUAL

:  proceeding by steps or degrees
:  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

GRADUALLY Defined for Kids


adjective grad·u·al \ˈgra-jə-wəl\

Definition of GRADUAL for Kids

:  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.


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