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.

Definitions of gradient
  1. noun
    a graded change in the magnitude of some physical quantity or dimension
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    concentration gradient
    a gradient in concentration of a solute as a function of distance through a solution
    gravity gradient
    a gradient in the gravitational forces acting on different parts of a nonspherical object
    temperature gradient
    change in temperature as a function of distance (especially altitude)
    type of:
    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
    “a five-degree gradient
    synonyms: slope
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    the gradient of a slope or road or other surface
    pitch, rake, slant
    degree of deviation from a horizontal plane
    abruptness, precipitousness, steepness
    the property possessed by a slope that is very steep
    gentleness, gradualness
    the property possessed by a slope that is very gradual
    rise, rising slope, upgrade
    the property possessed by a slope or surface that rises
    the property possessed by a slope or surface that descends
    (golf) the backward slant on the head of some golf clubs that is designed to drive the ball high in the air
    type of:
    position, spatial relation
    the spatial property of a place where or way in which something is situated
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘gradient'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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