Definition of gradient
2 : change in the value of a quantity (as temperature, pressure, or concentration) with change in a given variable and especially per unit distance in a specified direction
3 : the vector sum of the partial derivatives with respect to the three coordinate variables x, y, and z of a scalar quantity whose value varies from point to point
4 : a graded difference in physiological activity along an axis (as of the body or an embryonic field)
Examples of gradient in a sentence
<the path goes up at a pretty steep gradient before leveling off>
Did You Know?
Any slope can be called a gradient. In the interstate highway system, the maximum gradient is 6 percent; in other words, the highway may never ascend more than 6 vertical feet over a distance of 100 feet. Any rate of change that's shown on a graph may have a sloped gradient. Suppose the graph's horizontal axis shows the passage of time and its vertical axis shows some activity; if the activity is happening very fast, then the gradient of the line on the graph will be steep, but if it's slow the gradient will be gentle, or gradual.
Origin and Etymology of gradient
Latin gradient-, gradiens, present participle of gradi
First Known Use: 1835
GRADIENT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of gradient for English Language Learners
: a place where the ground slopes up or down
Medical Definition of gradient
1: change in the value of a quantity (as temperature, pressure, or concentration) with change in a given variable and especially per unit on a linear scale
2: a graded difference in physiological activity along an axis (as of the body or an embryonic field)
3 usually gradient of effect : change in response with distance from the stimulus
Seen and Heard
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