The gradient of a surface is its slope. If you're a daredevil and you're looking for a road to fly down on your skateboard, you'll want to find one with a fairly steep gradient.

In mathematics, the gradient tells you how steep a line in a graph is. In physics, when you say gradient, you're talking about how quickly something changes from one point to another. The word comes ultimately from the Latin gradus "step," and a gradient gives you a measure of the "steps" by which something changes.

1. noun
a graded change in the magnitude of some physical quantity or dimension
see moresee less
types:
a gradient in concentration of a solute as a function of distance through a solution
a gradient in the gravitational forces acting on different parts of a nonspherical object
change in temperature as a function of distance (especially altitude)
type of:
change
a relational difference between states; especially between states before and after some event
2. noun
the property possessed by a line or surface that departs from the horizontal
synonyms: slope
see moresee less
types:
show 7 types...
hide 7 types...
pitch, rake, slant
degree of deviation from a horizontal plane
abruptness, precipitousness, steepness
the property possessed by a slope that is very steep