gradient

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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    types:
    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:
    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
    “a five-degree gradient
    synonyms: slope
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    types:
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    grade
    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
    downgrade
    the property possessed by a slope or surface that descends
    loft
    (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
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