- the rate of change with respect to distance of a variable quantity, as temperature or pressure, in the direction of maximum change.
- a curve representing such a rate of change.
- graded post,
- gradient post,
- gradient wind,
Origin of gradient
Examples from the Web for gradient
The gradient is not noticeable, for there are ups and downs all the way, and ridges of hills here and there.Across America by Motor-cycle|C. K. Shepherd
Both sledges ran easily for nearly a mile over neve, when the gradient increased to one in ten, forcing us to relay.The Home of the Blizzard|Douglas Mawson
They replied that if we stuck they would pull us out, and making a dash for it I managed to get on the gradient and up again.Across the Prairie in a Motor Caravan|Frances Halton Eva Hasell
The city lies on a continuous slope varying in gradient, but in some districts very steep.
The gradient thus formed dictates the character of a bow to a great extent.Hunting with the Bow and Arrow|Saxton Pope
- (of a curve) the slope of the tangent at any point on a curve with respect to the horizontal axis
- (of a function, f (x, y, z)) the vector whose components along the axes are the partial derivatives of the function with respect to each variable, and whose direction is that in which the derivative of the function has its maximum value. Usually written: grad f, ∇ f or ∇ fCompare curl (def. 11), divergence (def. 4)
Word Origin for gradient
"steep slope of a road or railroad," 1835, principally in American English, from grade (n.) by analogy of quotient, etc. It was used 17c. as an adjective, of animals, "characterized by walking;" in that case probably from Latin gradientem, present participle of gradi "to walk."