gradual

1 of 2

adjective

grad·​u·​al ˈgra-jə-wəl How to pronounce gradual (audio)
-jəl,
ˈgraj-wəl
1
: moving, changing, or developing by fine or often imperceptible degrees
2
: proceeding by steps or degrees
gradually adverb
gradualness noun

gradual

2 of 2

noun

often capitalized
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

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
People with Parkinson’s disease experience a gradual loss in their ability to perform daily activities. Matthew Farrer, Discover Magazine, 13 Apr. 2024 The Panther’s road to Georgetown Pace became the head coach of Heritage girls soccer in 2015, and the program has made gradual steps toward becoming an area powerhouse. Charles Baggarly, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 9 Apr. 2024 The show’s emphasis is on outstanding natural beauty, the slow dance of cross-cultural romance and gradual enlightenment. Patrick Frater, Variety, 8 Apr. 2024 That is what led to a gradual migration away from CSMA/CD over coax to the now ubiquitous copper and fiber links between individual computers and a dedicated switch port. IEEE Spectrum, 7 Apr. 2024 Similar temperatures are forecast for Sunday before a gradual warming trend brings 80-degree temperatures to the area. Brianna Taylor, Sacramento Bee, 5 Apr. 2024 Observational evidence for a gradual decline of dark energy would be a boon for the gentle-fall scenario. Charlie Wood, Quanta Magazine, 4 Apr. 2024 While Americans in all age groups favor nondiscrimination laws, the PRRI findings indicate a gradual decline in support among Americans aged 18-29. Nicole Chavez, CNN, 12 Mar. 2024 Another underappreciated opportunity arises simply from the gradual maturation of the nascent streaming industry. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Fortune, 2 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gradual.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Adjective

1658, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near gradual

Cite this Entry

“Gradual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gradual. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

gradual

adjective
grad·​u·​al
ˈgraj-(ə-)wəl,
ˈgraj-əl
1
: proceeding by steps or degrees
2
: moving or changing by slight degrees
gradually adverb
gradualness noun

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