sed·​i·​ment | \ ˈse-də-mənt How to pronounce sediment (audio) \

Definition of sediment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid
2 : material deposited by water, wind, or glaciers


sed·​i·​ment | \ ˈse-də-ˌment How to pronounce sediment (audio) \
sedimented; sedimenting; sediments

Definition of sediment (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to deposit as sediment

intransitive verb

1 : to settle to the bottom in a liquid
2 : to deposit sediment

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Synonyms & Antonyms for sediment

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of sediment in a Sentence

Noun There was a layer of sediment in the bottom of the tank. the sediment at the bottom of the river needs to be routinely dredged so that it doesn't interfere with barge traffic Verb the water flowing into the reservoir is sedimenting silt faster than was originally expected
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Vázquez’s announcement comes amid criticism of her administration for not dredging reservoirs, which would eliminate sediment and avoid excess loss of water. Washington Post, "Worsening drought forces state of emergency in Puerto Rico," 29 June 2020 With the lower elevations that is the Klamath Mountains, the landscapes give rise to more sediment, trees and vegetation and terrestrial activity than the barren, alpine landscapes of the High Sierra. Tom Stienstra,, "Looking for summer solitude? Marble Mountain is the perfect retreat," 27 June 2020 PCBs are one of several chemical pollutants found in sediment at the Portland Harbor, a superfund site that runs from just north of the Broadway Bridge to the Columbia River slough. oregonlive, "Portland part of $550 million settlement with Monsanto over environmental contamination lawsuit," 25 June 2020 According to the agency, sea lamprey first burrow under riverbed sediment and filter feed on detritus - which more or less means decomposed matter -- before making their way to the ocean and living parasitically on other organisms as juveniles. Alec Snyder, CNN, "A 'vampire fish' is spawning in Vermont's waters. Experts say most of them are nothing to worry about," 25 June 2020 Those include wholesale removal of parts of the seafloor as well as sediment plumes. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Scientists claim deep-sea mining could forever harm 'pristine' ocean ecosystems," 25 June 2020 The crew collected 8,000 feet of sediment cores to find out more about the area, its history, and if in fact it should one day be considered earth’s eighth continent. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "The Lost Continent of Zealandia Disappeared Millions of Years Ago — but These New Maps Show It in Stunning Detail," 24 June 2020 If a slurry of ash and sediment is thick enough, fish will suffocate in the water. Erin Stone, azcentral, "As Bush Fire becomes one of largest in Arizona history, water and wildlife at risk," 22 June 2020 Before disinfecting murky water, decant it for an hour or so by letting the sediment settle to the bottom of a container. Keith Mccafferty, Field & Stream, "The Ultimate Survival Guide to Finding and Purifying Water," 19 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The cores, presented here today at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, were captured at the farthest extent of the ash’s reach, recorded as wisps of tephra in finely sedimented, ancient mud uplifted near the ocean floor. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "Yellowstone’s massive volcano could erupt more frequently than scientists thought," 25 Oct. 2017

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


1547, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1859, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for sediment


Latin sedimentum settling, from sedēre to sit, sink down

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Time Traveler for sediment

Time Traveler

The first known use of sediment was in 1547

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Statistics for sediment

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sediment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for sediment


How to pronounce sediment (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sediment

: material that sinks to the bottom of a liquid
: material (such as stones and sand) that is carried into water by water, wind, etc.


sed·​i·​ment | \ ˈse-də-mənt How to pronounce sediment (audio) \

Kids Definition of sediment

1 : the material from a liquid that settles to the bottom
2 : material (as stones and sand) carried onto land or into water by water, wind, or a glacier


sed·​i·​ment | \ ˈsed-ə-mənt How to pronounce sediment (audio) \

Medical Definition of sediment

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid
sed·​i·​ment | \ -ˌment How to pronounce sediment (audio) \

Medical Definition of sediment (Entry 2 of 2)

: to deposit as sediment the synaptosomes were sedimented by centrifugation

intransitive verb

1 : to settle to the bottom in a liquid let the red blood cells sediment for 30 minutes
2 : to deposit sediment

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Comments on sediment

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