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

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 Juicing this pump a bit could move more CO2 from the atmosphere to the deep ocean or into seafloor sediment. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, 14 Dec. 2021 Hazards associated with large amounts of water and sediment may also worsen. Nikk Ogasa, Scientific American, 28 Oct. 2021 Typically the whales turn on their right side and put their head down into the sediment to pulse the mud against their baleen plate, and filter out the ghost shrimp, a meaty native crustacean. Anchorage Daily News, 22 Feb. 2021 That dark thing turned out to be a rock, which the camera hits with a thud, tumbling face-down into the sediment. Matt Simon, Wired, 15 Feb. 2021 But a seagrass meadow can be just as effective as a temperate forest in sequestering carbon, sinking it into the sediment for decades or even centuries. Shane Gross; Text By Katherine Harmon Courage, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Nov. 2020 Analysis of Green Banana’s water and sediment samples won’t be complete for weeks. Chris Perkins,, 29 Sep. 2020 Not until a great white shark was brought to an anatomist in 1666 did experts imagine that the relics came from ancient sharks—and that the teeth must have drifted down to the seafloor and been covered by sediment. Joe Spring, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Dec. 2021 Waters clouded by sediment and algae, a product of development and agriculture on nearby lands, became less hospitable to darters and their prey. Scott Dance,, 17 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The team observed the octopuses launch objects and sediment several body lengths away. Corryn Wetzel, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Sep. 2021 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, 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

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sediment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for sediment



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


transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on sediment

Nglish: Translation of sediment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sediment for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sediment


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