gradual

adjective
grad·​u·​al | \ ˈgra-jə-wəl How to pronounce gradual (audio) , -jəl, ˈgraj-wəl\

Definition of gradual

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : moving, changing, or developing by fine or often imperceptible degrees
2 : proceeding by steps or degrees

gradual

noun, often capitalized

Definition of gradual (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a book containing the choral parts of the Mass
2 : a pair of verses (as from the Psalms) proper after the Epistle in the Mass

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Other Words from gradual

Adjective

gradually adverb
gradualness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for gradual

Synonyms: Adjective

gradational, incremental, phased, piecemeal, step-by-step

Antonyms: Adjective

abrupt, sudden

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Examples of gradual in a Sentence

Adjective

We noticed a gradual change in temperature. The hospital has made gradual improvements in health care.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The promise and optimism that the removal of authoritarian rulers in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan brought have since soured through gradual backsliding in the years that followed. Tom Ball, The New Republic, "How to Stage a Successful Revolution," 1 July 2019 And there begins the gradual erasure & dilution of the kimono's rich cultural history for future generations. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Kim Kardashian's New Shapewear Brand Is Being Accused of Cultural Appropriation," 27 June 2019 And even if the committee does not propose any changes that will radically alter the functioning of Congress, gradual improvements may still be worthwhile. Richard Skinner, Vox, "Technology and transparency: the path to a modern Congress?," 26 June 2019 More gradual fluctuations in your blood sugar provide a steadier supply of energy, and are especially helpful for anyone wanting to keep blood sugar levels stable, such as those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Can Our Bodies Even Tell the Difference Between Naturally Occurring and Added Sugars?," 24 June 2019 The decision is the result of a gradual shift away from aggressive and conservative politics inside the deep-pocketed donor network and one more toward comity and compromise. Philip Elliott, Time, "Coming Soon to a Democratic Primary: Candidates Backed By Charles Koch," 7 June 2019 The entry was placed between the first and second floors, allowing for a gradual rise in elevation. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Peek inside this spectacular Silicon Valley hilltop home on a modern home tour," 4 June 2019 But even with this gradual shift of responsibilities, the British monarch is showing no signs of slowing down. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth's Visit to Somerset Today Has a Special Tie to Her Granddaughter Princess Eugenie," 28 Mar. 2019 Areal flooding is similar to flash flooding but is linked more to gradual rain, not a quick burst of rain. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Areal flooding vs. flash flooding: What's the difference?," 17 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of gradual

Adjective

1658, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gradual

Adjective

Medieval Latin gradualis, from Latin gradus

Noun

Middle English, from Medieval Latin graduale, from Latin gradus step; from its being sung on the steps of the altar

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Statistics for gradual

Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for gradual

The first known use of gradual was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for gradual

gradual

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of gradual

: moving or changing in small amounts : happening in a slow way over a long period of time
: not steep

gradual

adjective
grad·​u·​al | \ ˈgra-jə-wəl How to pronounce gradual (audio) \

Kids Definition of gradual

: moving or happening by steps or degrees We watched the gradual approach of the train.

Other Words from gradual

gradually adverb Rain gradually ended.

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More from Merriam-Webster on gradual

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gradual

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gradual

Spanish Central: Translation of gradual

Nglish: Translation of gradual for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gradual for Arabic Speakers

Comments on gradual

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