• synonyms


[grav-uh l]
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  1. small stones and pebbles, or a mixture of these with sand.
  2. Pathology.
    1. multiple small calculi formed in the kidneys.
    2. the disease characterized by such concretions.
verb (used with object), grav·eled, grav·el·ing or (especially British) grav·elled, grav·el·ling.
  1. to cover with gravel.
  2. to bring to a standstill from perplexity; puzzle.
  3. Informal. to be a cause of irritation to.
  4. Obsolete. to run (a ship) aground, as on a beach.
  1. harsh and grating: a gravel voice.

Origin of gravel

1250–1300; Middle English < Old French gravele, diminutive of grave sandy shore, perhaps < Celtic; cf. grave4, growan
Related formsgrav·el·ish, adjectiveun·grav·eled, adjectiveun·grav·elled, adjectivewell-grav·eled, adjectivewell-grav·elled, adjective
Can be confusedgavel gravel grovel
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for graveling

Historical Examples

  • The State Highway Commission has set aside funds for graveling this section preparatory to surfacing.

    Third Biennial Report of the Oregon State Highway Commission

    S. Benson, W. L. Thompson, R. A. Booth, Herbert Nunn

  • Article 24, proposing the graveling of a sidewalk, was referred to the selectmen.

British Dictionary definitions for graveling


  1. an unconsolidated mixture of rock fragments that is coarser than sand
  2. geology a mixture of rock fragments with diameters in the range 4–76 mm
  3. pathol small rough calculi in the kidneys or bladder
verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled (tr)
  1. to cover with gravel
  2. to confound or confuse
  3. US informal to annoy or disturb
Derived Formsgravelish, adjective

Word Origin

C13: from Old French gravele, diminutive of grave gravel, perhaps of Celtic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for graveling



early 13c., from Old French gravele "sand, gravel," diminutive of grave "sand, seashore" (Modern French grève), possibly from Celtic *gravo- (cf. Welsh gro "coarse gravel," Breton grouan, Cornish grow "gravel"), perhaps ultimately from PIE *ghreu- "to rub, grind."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

graveling in Medicine


  1. Sandlike concretions of uric acid, calcium oxalate, and mineral salts formed in the passages of the biliary and urinary tracts.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.