[ ih-roh-zhuhn ]
See synonyms for erosion on
  1. the act or state of eroding; state of being eroded.

  2. the process by which the surface of the earth is worn away by the action of water, glaciers, winds, waves, etc.

  1. the gradual decline or disintegration of something: Each candidate is blaming the other’s party for the erosion of international trade.

Origin of erosion

First recorded in 1535–45; from Latin ērōsiōn- (stem of ērōsiō ), derivative of ērōdere “to gnaw, eat away”; see origin at erode, -ion

Other words from erosion

  • e·ro·sion·al, adjective
  • an·ti·e·ro·sion, adjective

Words Nearby erosion Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use erosion in a sentence

  • Focus on the gays—not on the economy, the erosion of civil society, or the lack of democracy.

  • The more socially conservative libertarian-conservatives worry about family cohesion and erosion of religious belief.

  • And the health law might not prohibit it, opening a door to potential erosion of employer-based coverage.

    Hold On to Your Health Care | Kaiser Health News | May 7, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • While not as bad as some environmentalists have expected, there is beach erosion.

  • The result is a continual erosion of the business—fewer subscriptions sold, fewer print ads sold, even as costs rise annually.

    So Long, Washington Post | Daniel Gross | August 5, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Nowhere perhaps has the great water erosion of bygone aeons wrought more grotesquely and fantastically than in the Moqui basin.

    Overland | John William De Forest
  • This erosion had been carried along the cañon on an even line of altitude as far as the softer layer extended.

    Overland | John William De Forest
  • On steep slopes a certain number of trees must be left to protect the watershed and to prevent the erosion of the soil.

    Our National Forests | Richard H. Douai Boerker
  • Its substance is well preserved; the surface was once highly polished, but now is pitted by erosion and discolored by age.

    The Swastika | Thomas Wilson
  • Sastrugi, only six inches high, seen on the 26th, showed the effects of wind-erosion exquisitely.

    The Home of the Blizzard | Douglas Mawson

British Dictionary definitions for erosion


/ (ɪˈrəʊʒən) /

  1. the wearing away of rocks and other deposits on the earth's surface by the action of water, ice, wind, etc

  2. the act or process of eroding or the state of being eroded

Derived forms of erosion

  • erosive or erosional, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for erosion


[ ĭ-rōzhən ]

  1. The gradual wearing away of land surface materials, especially rocks, sediments, and soils, by the action of water, wind, or a glacier. Usually erosion also involves the transport of eroded material from one place to another, as from the top of a mountain to an adjacent valley, or from the upstream portion of a river to the downstream portion.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for erosion


A type of weathering in which surface soil and rock are worn away through the action of glaciers, water, and wind.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.