strat·​i·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ˌstra-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən \

Definition of stratification 

1a : the act or process of stratifying

b : the state of being stratified

2 : a stratified formation

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Did You Know?

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

Give seeds 4 to 6 weeks of cold, moist stratification to promote uniform germination. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow Gorgeous Echinacea in Your Garden," 29 May 2018 Give seeds 4 to 6 weeks of cold, moist stratification to promote uniform germination. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "How To Grow Gorgeous Medicinal Echinacea In Your Garden," 17 July 2017 But as the tide has shifted away from desegregation enforcement, civil rights advocates say, a growing number of public schools have admissions processes that perpetuate racial and socioeconomic stratification. Harry Bruinius, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Keep the test!' A debate flares over exam-based public high schools.," 6 July 2018 This situation, which obtains in much of the Arctic, was reinforced by the fact that freshwater is less dense than salt water, preserving stratification. Chris Mooney, Anchorage Daily News, "A huge stretch of the Arctic Ocean is turning into the Atlantic right before our eyes," 27 June 2018 In an economy of unprecedented wealth inequality, the affordability crisis further exacerbates social and racial stratification. New York Times, "What’s the Biggest Challenge for Colleges and Universities?," 5 June 2018 The private schools will encourage social stratification by allowing well-off parents to buy their children educational and thus professional advantage, as happens in Britain and America. The Economist, "Elite private schools are booming in Kenya," 21 June 2018 The portable benefits system, in all its flexible glory, would thus preserve the labor stratification of the gig economy, simply in a marginally more palatable form. Julianne Tveten, The New Republic, "Silicon Valley’s “Flexibility” Fetish," 31 May 2018 This masks the true level of social stratification and political disadvantage of vulnerable populations. Cristian Capotescu, Washington Post, "Poor people die younger in the U.S. That skews American politics.," 31 May 2018

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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Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for stratification

The first known use of stratification was circa 1617

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More Definitions for stratification



English Language Learners Definition of stratification

: the state of being divided into social classes

: the state of having many layers


strat·​i·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ˌstrat-ə-fə-ˈkā-shən \

Medical Definition of stratification 

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

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Comments on stratification

What made you want to look up stratification? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having a pattern of small flowers

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