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 In White Pond, the researchers took samples from the sediment beneath the pond and dated them. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Something crashed into Earth and helped wipe out mammoths and other animals 13,000 years ago, study says," 29 Oct. 2019 One of the paleontologists, Mike Everhart, said the skull was washed out of the same river sediments where Ice Age-era bison remains were found. USA TODAY, "Rare yellow cardinal sighted, escaped goat caught, fossilized bear skull found: News from around our 50 states," 18 Oct. 2019 Analysis of the lake sediments yielded a geologic record of 16-25 earthquakes going back as far as 10,000 years. oregonlive, "Scientists probe Northwest lakes to learn about ancient quakes," 29 Sep. 2019 From the bottom of this layer toward the top, the pieces get smaller and less jagged, indicating that tumbled rocks and sediment were more gradually settling out of the water column. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Here’s what happened in the impact crater the day it did in the dinos," 15 Sep. 2019 By taking a core sample of sediments just off the coast of Southern California, the scientists could observe in its layers how plastic concentrations have changed year after year. Wired, "Plastic Will Be the Shameful Artifact Our Descendants Dig Up," 4 Sep. 2019 Within months, the sediment-starved delta was restored. Starre Vartan, National Geographic, "Beavers on the coast are helping salmon bounce back. Here’s how.," 13 Aug. 2019 As for the shovel jaw, the dinosaur used it to scoop aquatic plants from wet sediment near the sea that covered much of Big Bend. Sarah Sarder, Dallas News, "After years in a drawer, 'strange' Big Bend dinosaur identified as new species," 17 July 2019 As part of a plan to save Louisiana’s rapidly sinking coastline, state agencies want to pump in more sediment-heavy river water to help rebuild the disappearing land. Rocky Kistner, WIRED, "Gulf Fisheries Are Under Siege—Now Comes Tropical Storm Barry," 12 July 2019 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

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sediment.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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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