grav·​el | \ ˈgra-vəl How to pronounce gravel (audio) \

Definition of gravel

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 obsolete : sand
2a : loose rounded fragments of rock
b : a stratum or deposit of gravel also : a surface covered with gravel a gravel road
3 : small calculi in the kidneys and urinary bladder


graveled or gravelled; graveling or gravelling\ ˈgrav-​liŋ How to pronounce gravelling (audio) , ˈgra-​və-​ \

Definition of gravel (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to cover or spread with gravel
b : irritate, nettle disappointed … and graveled him a good deal— Mark Twain



Definition of gravel (Entry 3 of 3)

: gravelly sense 2 used of the human voice

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Examples of gravel in a Sentence


managed to gravel his opponent in the debate by focusing on atypical examples


after his bout with laryngitis, he had a terribly gravel voice

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

On that same gravel and dirt, the officer slammed on his car’s brakes, causing the cruiser to slide into a chain link fence., "Sex, jealousy lead to fight over man: Cleveland Heights police blotter," 6 Sep. 2019 The magical is meeting with the practical here: the idyllic beauty of a Provencal wedding reconciled with the aching realities of spending an afternoon walking gardens and gravel paths in a pair of heels. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Meryl Davis and Fedor Andreev's Wedding Was a Provencal Dream," 29 July 2019 Beautiful three-quarter-acre grounds with slate patios and pea gravel paths. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "1925 Royal Oak Tudor with servants quarters has been restored to perfection," 27 July 2019 That’s the next step, trying out a sheet of aerogel on Dry Valley gravel to see if the ground warms up and the ice melts. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Headed to Mars? Pack Some Aerogel—You Know, for Terraforming," 15 July 2019 The four were attending a Girl Scouts camp, and had been hiking with others along a gravel path when the tree -- roughly 35 to 45 feet tall -- fell around 11:30 a.m., Malone said. Jason Hanna And Carma Hassan, CNN, "A tree fell on Girl Scouts hikers in Indiana, killing a girl and injuring 3 other people," 25 June 2019 The heartbreaking incident occurred around 11:30 a.m., as Meyer, a 10-year-old girl from Boonville and two women in their 50s, were walking down a steep, muddy, gravel path, headed for the mess hall. Hilary Shenfeld,, "Girl Scout, 11, Tragically Killed by Falling Tree in 'Freak' Accident at Indiana Campground," 25 June 2019 The combined lots could bring 150 to 200 or more parking spaces to the site, and be accessible by a two-lane gravel road providing one-way entrance and one-way exit off SR-67, said Lubich, a senior park project manager. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Planners review Woodson parking, evacuation plan," 13 Sep. 2019 The Wednesday meeting, to be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at Milton City Hall, 2006 Heritage Walk, will discuss the Central Milton trail segment, gravel roads and citywide connectivity, officials said. David Ibata, ajc, "Milton sets trail plan meeting, posts online survey," 13 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The pursuit path included U.S. 20, gravel logging roads and the quiet residential area where Brown was eventually arrested., "Newport man arrested after lengthy high-speed chase, deputies say," 27 June 2019 Reaching the stadium from the baseball offices is a circuitous route that takes you in one door and then out of another in State’s indoor football facility, down a steep, unleveled sidewalk and through a dusty, graveled-covered work site. Ross Dellenger,, "How Mississippi State Baseball Turned a Season That Began in Humiliation Into a Trip to Omaha," 15 June 2018 This practice begs the question: would gravel make sense in some of the areas off the path of the driveway? Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Here’s what to do with all that sand and gravel left behind now that the snow has melted," 3 May 2018 For developers, Davis says, the upfront cost of the seeds and planting is offset in the long term by lower maintenance costs—no turf to mow or gravel erosion to manage. National Geographic, "Beekeepers Sweeten Solar Sites With the 'Tesla of Honey'," 24 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gravel.' 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 gravel


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1543, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1939, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gravel


Middle English, from Anglo-French gravele, diminutive of grave, greve river bank, stony ground

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Statistics for gravel

Last Updated

3 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gravel

The first known use of gravel was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for gravel



English Language Learners Definition of gravel

: small pieces of rock


grav·​el | \ ˈgra-vəl How to pronounce gravel (audio) \

Kids Definition of gravel

: small pieces of rock and pebbles larger than grains of sand


grav·​el | \ ˈgrav-əl How to pronounce gravel (audio) \

Medical Definition of gravel

1 : a deposit of small calculous concretions in the kidneys and urinary bladder — compare microlith
2 : the condition that results from the presence of deposits of gravel

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More from Merriam-Webster on gravel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gravel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gravel

Spanish Central: Translation of gravel

Nglish: Translation of gravel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gravel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gravel

Comments on gravel

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