gra·​da·​tion | \ grā-ˈdā-shən How to pronounce gradation (audio) , grə- \

Definition of gradation

1a : a series forming successive stages the gradations of evolutionary development
b : a step or place in an ordered scale
2 : an advance by regular degrees gradations of social progress
3 : a gradual passing from one tint or shade to another
4 : the act or process of grading
5 : ablaut

Other Words from gradation

gradational \ grā-​ˈdā-​shnəl How to pronounce gradation (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl , grə-​ \ adjective
gradationally adverb

Did you know?

In the Boy Scouts, gradations of rank move upward from Tenderfoot to Eagle Scout. A violin or a voice can produce gradations of musical pitch too small to appear in written music. In the 18th century Jonathan Swift could even write of "the several kinds and gradations of laughter, which ladies must daily practice by the looking-glass".

Examples of gradation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To my eyes, most of the acrobats’ repetitions of the same swings and flips looked identical, but Raman could see every gradation of weight, force, and grip. Meg Bernhard, The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2022 Creative energy whirls, as contemporary artist RISK and musician Dave Navarro collaborate in a semi-outdoor studio space, working quickly yet painstakingly to place stencils, layer motifs, and build gradation with an array of spray paints. Natasha Gural, Forbes, 22 Oct. 2021 False Positive has a lot going for it: Glaser, who brought such marvelous deadpan charm to Broad City, makes a hugely sympathetic mom-to-be, shifting through every believable gradation of joy and outright terror at the thought of what awaits her. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 25 June 2021 For monolids like mine, Maki suggests trying a simple single-tone gradation, layering a darker shadow along the lash line and fading it upward. Monica Kim, Vogue, 28 May 2021 The red petals have lushness and gradation of red color that is contrasted with yellow pistils completed with a detailed lacquer technique. Anthony Demarco, Forbes, 19 May 2021 There are hair accessories—a rare design for Harry Winston—as well as rings, and a pair of combination chandelier/ear climber earrings with gems set in a gradation of colors. Carol Besler, Robb Report, 17 May 2021 This gradation fed into the basic concept of the whole site as a landscape that is formal, then informal and finally pastoral. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, 7 Apr. 2021 No gradation exists between the two: You are born either a knowledge-acquiring intellectual or a sensation-seeking normal. Washington Post, 24 Mar. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of gradation

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for gradation

see grade entry 1

Learn More About gradation

Time Traveler for gradation

Time Traveler

The first known use of gradation was in 1549

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near gradation




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for gradation

Cite this Entry

“Gradation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on gradation

Nglish: Translation of gradation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gradation for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!