strat·​i·​fi·​ca·​tion ˌstra-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce stratification (audio)
: the act or process of stratifying
: the state of being stratified
: 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 Finally, a reminder that AI excels in a number of complex activities (variance analysis, pattern recognition, automation, risk stratification, information processing, etc.) and falls short in uniquely human activities like reasoning, judgment, imagination, empathy, creativity and problem-solving. Mariya Filipova, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 Hopefully, this research will reveal some new and effective targets for the diagnosis, monitoring, stratification, and treatment of this suite of diseases. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, 6 Feb. 2024 The stratification of the varying rules can be mind-blowing, said Agoglia Hoeltzel, who is also Cigna’s global chief accounting officer. Mark Maurer, WSJ, 27 Dec. 2023 The caste system is among the world’s oldest forms of rigid social stratification. Reuters, NBC News, 30 Aug. 2023 There’s this weird stratification where shows are for either the one percent or the 99 percent. Josef Adalian, Vulture, 6 June 2023 The coronavirus pandemic turbocharged the wealth stratification. Michael Corkery, New York Times, 14 Aug. 2023 More stratification also leads the oceans to absorb less heat from the atmosphere, furthering global warming, per the Guardian. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Jan. 2023 So do streaming services that keep us at home, and the increasing stratification of cultural experiences that preclude water cooler moments in the culture. Time, 25 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stratification.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1617, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of stratification was circa 1617

Dictionary Entries Near stratification

Cite this Entry

“Stratification.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


strat·​i·​fi·​ca·​tion ˌstrat-ə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce stratification (audio)
: the act or process of arranging or becoming arranged in layers or strata
: the state of being arranged in layers or strata

Medical Definition


strat·​i·​fi·​ca·​tion ˌstrat-ə-fə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce stratification (audio)
: arrangement or formation in layers or strata
stratification of epithelial cells
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