Gain access to thousands of additional definitions and advanced search features—ad free! JOIN NOW
: the policy of approaching a desired end by gradual stages
: the evolution of new species by gradual accumulation of small genetic changes over long periods of time
: a theory or model of evolution emphasizing this — compare punctuated equilibrium
Keep scrolling for more
Recent Examples on the Web
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gradualism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1
Resources for gradualism
Time Traveler for gradualism
See more words from the same year
More from Merriam-Webster on gradualism
See words that rhyme with gradualism
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about gradualism
Comments on gradualism
What made you want to look up gradualism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
a magnificent or impressive array
Get Word of the Day daily email!
Name that Food Quiz
Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.
Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!
For frog-tossing, sword dancing, & more
That dessert might kill you
How a folk song became a term of derision.
Sorry, not sorry
And is one way more correct than the others?
The story of an imaginary word that managed to sneak past our editors and enter the dictionary.
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
The awkward case of 'his or her'
Test your knowledge of food and food words.
A quiz in common time.
SCRABBLE® fans, sharpen your skills!