strat·​i·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ ˌstra-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce stratification (audio) \

Definition of stratification

1a : the act or process of stratifying
b : the state of being stratified
2 : a stratified formation

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If you look for it, you'll find stratification almost everywhere. On a tall rain-forest tree, there may be different air plants clinging to it, different insects crawling on it, and different mammals making their homes at different levels. The earth beneath you may be stratified into several distinctive layers within the first 20 feet. If the wind you're feeling is moving at 10 miles per hour, at 30 feet above your head it may be 20 mph, and in the jet stream above that it may be 150 mph. If you climb a high mountain in Himalayas, you may begin in a lush, wet forest and end up in a windswept environment where not even lichen will grow.

Examples of stratification in a Sentence

the stratification of the Earth's crust
Recent Examples on the Web For Manduley and other health experts, this social stratification is reminiscent of how HIV-positive individuals were shunned in the 1980s and ’90s. Washington Post, "We’re doing shots! Vaccinated or not, America wants to party again.," 29 Mar. 2021 Around this time last year, as COVID-19 shook New York to its core, the class stratification that had shaped city life for decades suddenly took on a devastating new resonance. Judy Berman, Time, "HBO’s COVID Diaries NYC Is a Bracing, Authentic Antidote to Fluffy Quarantine TV," 9 Mar. 2021 The study, from researchers in China as well as the United States, found stratification has increased by about 5.3% during the 1960 to 2018 period, for a rate of 0.9% per decade. Andrew Freedman, Anchorage Daily News, "Mixing of the planet’s ocean waters is decreasing, and that is speeding up global warming, study finds," 29 Sep. 2020 The movie mostly takes place in Britain, where Durkin spent much of his adolescence; the country is dotted with grand edifices and crumbling estates, monuments to centuries of income stratification. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Nest Is a Haunted-House Movie Without Ghosts," 27 Nov. 2020 Some seeds, like magnolias have a hard outer shell and need scarification and stratification. Janet Carson, Arkansas Online, "From one, come many," 18 Oct. 2020 Climate change is also pushing more balmy Atlantic currents into the Arctic and breaking up the usual stratification between warm deep waters and the cool surface. Jonathan Watts, Wired, "Uh-Oh. Russia's Laptev Sea Should Have Started to Freeze by Now," 24 Oct. 2020 Dogwoods root easily, but the seeds do need a cool, moist storage period called stratification. Janet Carson, Arkansas Online, "From one, come many," 18 Oct. 2020 The study assesses how the separation of seawater layers, known as stratification, has changed based on new temperature, salinity and density data. Andrew Freedman, Anchorage Daily News, "Mixing of the planet’s ocean waters is decreasing, and that is speeding up global warming, study finds," 29 Sep. 2020

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

circa 1617, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for stratification

Time Traveler

The first known use of stratification was circa 1617

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Statistics for stratification

Last Updated

21 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stratification.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for stratification



English Language Learners Definition of stratification

: the state of being divided into social classes
technical : the state of having many layers


strat·​i·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ ˌstrat-ə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce stratification (audio) \

Medical Definition of stratification

: arrangement or formation in layers or strata stratification of epithelial cells

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