gradual

noun, often capitalized
grad·​u·​al | \ˈgra-jə-wəl, -jəl, ˈgraj-wəl\

Definition of gradual 

(Entry 1 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

gradual

adjective

Definition of gradual (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : proceeding by steps or degrees

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

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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

Former Fox personality Glenn Beck fell victim to an advertiser abandonment that was much more gradual. CBS News, "Laura Ingraham due back at Fox News following backlash," 7 Apr. 2018 Speak honestly about your work-life needs, and be prepared to suggest options that would benefit both your employer and you — whether that's a gradual return to work after your leave, compressed workweeks or adjusted start and stop times. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., USA TODAY, "Ask HR: My boss embarrassed me. What do I do? And should parental leave be gender-blind?," 17 Apr. 2018 That means the sweet return of baseball, the gradual return of sunshine and another long, exciting season that will take us through spring, summer and the beginning of fall. Si.com Staff, SI.com, "The Top 10 Latino Prospects of 2018," 26 Mar. 2018 What clues does this forum give about China’s gradual, yet steady, increase in military ties with Africa? Lina Benabdallah, Washington Post, "China-Africa military ties have deepened. Here are 4 things to know.," 6 July 2018 Sitting Bull’s conversations with Catherine are a mix of cross-cultural banter and gradual, mutual understanding. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Jessica Chastain plays the artist who painted Sitting Bull in the inert history lesson 'Woman Walks Ahead'," 28 June 2018 Prospects for the Kim-Trump talks remain unclear because Kim prefers a gradual, step-by-step disarmament process in return for corresponding rewards, while the United States wants complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. Fox News, "2 Koreas dismantle propaganda loudspeakers at tense border," 2 May 2018 Prospects for the Kim-Trump talks remain unclear because Kim prefers a gradual, step-by-step disarmament process in return for corresponding rewards, while the United States wants complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. Bloomberg.com, "North and South Korea Dismantle Propaganda Loudspeakers at Border," 1 May 2018 Prospects for the Kim-Trump talks remain unclear because Kim prefers a gradual, step-by-step disarmament process in return for corresponding rewards, while the United States wants complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. BostonGlobe.com, "2 Koreas dismantle propaganda loudspeakers at tense border," 1 May 2018

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1658, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gradual

Noun

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

Adjective

Medieval Latin gradualis, from Latin gradus

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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 \

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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Comments on gradual

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