[ grey-dee-uhnt ]
/ ˈgreɪ di ənt /
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Definition of gradient

the degree of inclination, or the rate of ascent or descent, in a highway, railroad, etc.
an inclined surface; grade; ramp.
  1. the rate of change with respect to distance of a variable quantity, as temperature or pressure, in the direction of maximum change.
  2. a curve representing such a rate of change.
Mathematics. a differential operator that, operating upon a function of several variables, results in a vector the coordinates of which are the partial derivatives of the function. Abbreviation: grad. Symbol: ∇
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Origin of gradient

1635–45; <Latin gradient- (stem of gradiēns), present participle of gradī to walk, go, equivalent to grad- walk + -i- thematic vowel + -ent--ent
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use gradient in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for gradient

/ (ˈɡreɪdɪənt) /

Also called (esp US): grade a part of a railway, road, etc, that slopes upwards or downwards; inclination
Also called (esp US and Canadian): grade a measure of such a slope, esp the ratio of the vertical distance between two points on the slope to the horizontal distance between them
physics a measure of the change of some physical quantity, such as temperature or electric potential, over a specified distance
  1. (of a curve) the slope of the tangent at any point on a curve with respect to the horizontal axis
  2. (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)
sloping uniformly

Word Origin for gradient

C19: from Latin gradiēns stepping, from gradī to go
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

Medical definitions for gradient

[ grādē-ənt ]

The rate at which a physical quantity, such as temperature or pressure, changes relative to change in a given variable, especially distance.
A series of progressively increasing or decreasing differences in the growth rate, metabolism, or physiological activity of a cell, an organ, or an organism.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for gradient

[ grādē-ənt ]

The degree to which something inclines; a slope. A mountain road with a gradient of ten percent rises one foot for every ten feet of horizontal length.
The rate at which a physical quantity, such as temperature or pressure changes over a distance.
A operator on scalar fields yielding a vector function, where the value of the vector evaluated at any point indicates the direction and degree of change of the field at that point.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.