accretion

noun

ac·​cre·​tion ə-ˈkrē-shən How to pronounce accretion (audio)
1
: the process of growth or enlargement by a gradual buildup: such as
a
: increase by external addition or accumulation (as by adhesion of external parts or particles)
b
: the increase of land by the action of natural forces
2
: a product of accretion
especially : an extraneous addition
accretions of grime
accretionary adjective

Did you know?

The slow accretion of scientific knowledge over many centuries has turned into an avalanche in our time. Any accretion of ice on a grounded jet will result in takeoff delays because of the danger it poses. The land area of the Mississippi Delta increases every year from the accretion of soil washed down the Mississippi River, though the accretions happen so slowly that it's difficult to detect any increase at all. Accretion is often used in scientific writing; its usual verb form, accrue, is more often used in financial contexts ("This figure doesn't count the accrued interest on the investments").

Example Sentences

rocks formed by the slow accretion of limestone There was an accretion of ice on the car's windshield.
Recent Examples on the Web Rapid ice accretion on decks and superstructures may result in a catastrophic loss of stability. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, 22 Dec. 2022 This is a memoir that gathers power through accretion — all those moments and gestures that constitute experience, the bits and pieces that coalesce into a life. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, 25 Sep. 2022 And since astronomers were finding more planets around those stars, it was taken as proof that core accretion was forming those planets. Connor Lynch, Discover Magazine, 4 May 2022 For the most part, however, Goldston’s video packages, as they are known in the TV industry, relied on the piecemeal accretion of small but telling details. Luke Broadwater Philip Montgomery, New York Times, 23 Dec. 2022 Many journalists contributed to the steady accretion of facts. David Remnick, The New Yorker, 22 Dec. 2022 The Kalita plan is also reminiscent of the firm’s 2019 expansion of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, which brought architectural logic to a complex site with a challenging accretion of legacy buildings. Dallas News, 8 Dec. 2022 These challenges have the potential to turn around decades of accretion of judicial power in administrative agencies. Peggy Little, WSJ, 6 Nov. 2022 France, like every culture, has a soul, the accretion of art, history, the people, and their struggles. Rick Steves, Condé Nast Traveler, 8 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accretion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Latin accrētiōn-, accrētiō "increase," from accrē- (stem of accrēscere "to increase, be added") + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at accrue

First Known Use

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of accretion was in 1615

Dictionary Entries Near accretion

Cite this Entry

“Accretion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accretion. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

accretion

noun
ac·​cre·​tion ə-ˈkrē-shən How to pronounce accretion (audio)
1
: the process of growth or enlargement
especially : increase or growth by addition on the outside
2
: a product or result of accretion

Medical Definition

accretion

noun
ac·​cre·​tion ə-ˈkrē-shən How to pronounce accretion (audio)
: the process of growth or enlargement
especially : increase by external addition or accumulation (as by adhesion of external parts or particles) compare apposition sense 1, intussusception sense 2
accretionary adjective

Legal Definition

accretion

noun
ac·​cre·​tion ə-ˈkrē-shən How to pronounce accretion (audio)
1
: the process or a result of growth or enlargement: as
a
: the increase or extension of the boundaries of land or the consequent acquisition of land accruing to the owner by the gradual or imperceptible action of natural forces (as by the washing up of sand or soil from the sea or a river or by a gradual recession of the water from the usual watermark)
also : accession in which the boundaries of land are enlarged by this process compare avulsion, reliction
b
: increase in the amount or extent of any kind of property or in the value of any property
accretions to a trust fund resulting from the increase in value of…securities in which its corpus is investedIn re Estate of Gartenlaub, 244 P. 348 (1926)

Note: Accretion in value of the principal of a trust is generally not considered income.

c
: enlargement of a bargaining unit by the addition of new employees
2
in the civil law of Louisiana : the passing to an heir or conjoint legatee of the right to accept a portion of a succession resulting from the failure of a coheir or colegatee to take his or her own share

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