gradient

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noun gra·di·ent \ˈgrā-dē-ənt\

Definition of gradient

  1. 1a :  the rate of regular or graded (see 2grade transitive 2) ascent or descent :  inclinationb :  a part sloping upward or downward

  2. 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. 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. 4 :  a graded difference in physiological activity along an axis (as of the body or an embryonic field)

Examples of gradient in a Sentence

  1. the path goes up at a pretty steep gradient before leveling off

Recent Examples of gradient from the Web

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: 1835


GRADIENT Defined for English Language Learners

gradient

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noun

Definition of gradient for English Language Learners

  • : a place where the ground slopes up or down


Medical Dictionary

gradient

play
noun gra·di·ent \ˈgrād-ē-ənt\

Medical Definition of gradient

  1. 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. 2:  a graded difference in physiological activity along an axis (as of the body or an embryonic field)

  3. 3 usually gradient of effect :  change in response with distance from the stimulus



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