[ grey-dee-uhnt ]
/ ˈgreɪ di ənt /
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noun
the degree of inclination, or the rate of ascent or descent, in a highway, railroad, etc.
Physics.
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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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

## British Dictionary definitions for gradient

/ (ˈɡreɪdɪənt) /

noun
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
maths
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 ∇ f
sloping uniformly

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

[ grādē-ənt ]

n.
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.