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-​sh(ə-​)nəl How to pronounce gradation (audio) , 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 Voting results out of Kansas suggest that outcomes may defy expectations and evoke gradation far beyond that of a typical partisan issue. Tricia C. Bruce, Time, 20 Aug. 2022 From there, you’re taken to the in-between states, with varieties of gradation. New York Times, 22 Aug. 2022 Choi’s style of dragons is simple, cute and are inked with a gradation style in all black. Nadja Sayej, Forbes, 3 Aug. 2022 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 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

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Time Traveler for gradation

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The first known use of gradation was in 1549

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Last Updated

16 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gradation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on gradation

Nglish: Translation of gradation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gradation for Arabic Speakers


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