Definition of gradient
2 : change in the value of a quantity (such 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
Recent Examples of gradient from the Web
The entire climb from the descent after the Col de Vars is about 18 miles, and includes gradients that reach 10 percent in spots.
Froome’s Sky teammates had controlled the race until the final kilometer leading to the ski station of Peyragudes, but Froome was dropped in a final section that featured slopes with a 20 percent gradient.
The 100-mile leg begins in Vittel and winds its way to La Planche Des Belles Filles with a short but steep finishing ascent that features a leg-breaking 20 percent gradient in the final meters.
A pair of mixed-material aviators with a gradient lens is the definitive summertime off duty accessory of choice.
Strong wind is an occasional, lethal rite of spring in Moscow, brought by extreme temperature gradients on the Eurasian plain during changes in season.
Having the sun just out of the frame creates a gradient in the sky, another technical element that makes this shot different from other straight-on shots of the Great Wheel.
Each shade reportedly was inspired by the gradient pink hues of New York City sunsets.
The colored gradient shows differences from what is typical for each location.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gradient.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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: 1835See Words from the same year
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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