• synonyms


[noun sed-uh-muh nt; verb sed-uh-ment]
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  1. the matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid; lees; dregs.
  2. Geology. mineral or organic matter deposited by water, air, or ice.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to deposit as sediment.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to form or deposit sediment.
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Origin of sediment

1540–50; < Latin sedimentum, equivalent to sedi- (combining form of sedēre to sit1, settle) + -mentum -ment
Related formssed·i·men·tous, adjectiveself-sed·i·ment·ed, adjective
Can be confusedsand sediment silt
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for sediment

waste, debris, silt, trash, powder, lees, dross, matter, deposit, slag, dregs, precipitate, precipitation, grounds, settling, gunk, gook, residuum

Examples from the Web for sediment

Contemporary Examples of sediment

Historical Examples of sediment

  • In some places junk men will buy the sediment, or "mud," as it is called.

  • It will be noticed, however, that the sediment is heaped in the middle of the cell.

  • (a) Sediment has risen to within one-half inch of the bottom of the plates.

  • A drainpipe from the bottom of the tank is also desirable to draw off the accumulations of sediment.

    Rural Hygiene

    Henry N. Ogden

  • Falbe lay quietly with his long fingers in the sediment of pine-needles.


    E. F. Benson

British Dictionary definitions for sediment


  1. matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid
  2. material that has been deposited from water, ice, or wind
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Derived Formssedimentous (ˌsɛdɪˈmɛntəs), adjective

Word Origin for sediment

C16: from Latin sedimentum a settling, from sedēre to sit
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 sediment


1540s, "matter which settles at the bottom of water or other liquid," from Middle French sédiment (16c.) and directly from Latin sedimentum "a settling, sinking down," from stem of sedere "to settle, sit" (see sedentary).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sediment in Medicine


  1. Insoluble material that sinks to the bottom of a liquid, as in hypostasis.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

sediment in Science


  1. Geology Solid fragmented material, such as silt, sand, gravel, chemical precipitates, and fossil fragments, that is transported and deposited by water, ice, or wind or that accumulates through chemical precipitation or secretion by organisms, and that forms layers on the Earth's surface. Sedimentary rocks consist of consolidated sediment.
  2. Chemistry
  3. Particles of solid matter that settle out of a suspension to the bottom of the liquid.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.