- The definition of a gradient is a rate of an incline.
An example of a gradient is the rate at which a mountain gets steeper.
Origin: L gradiens (gen. gradientis), present participle of gradi, to step: see grade
- a slope, as of a road or railroad
- the degree of such slope
- Biol. a gradation in rate of growth, metabolism, etc. in an organism, growing part, or developing embryo
- ☆ Math. a vector pointing in the direction of the most rapid increase of a function and having coordinates that are the partial derivatives of the function
- Physics the rate of change of a physical quantity, as temperature or pressure, with distance
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun Abbr. grad.
- A rate of inclination; a slope.
- An ascending or descending part; an incline.
- Physics The rate at which a physical quantity, such as temperature or pressure, increases or decreases relative to change in a given variable, especially distance.
- Mathematics A vector having coordinate components that are the partial derivatives of a function with respect to its variables.
- Biology A series of progressively increasing or decreasing differences in the growth rate, metabolism, or physiological activity of a cell, organ, or organism.
Origin: Perhaps grade + -ient, as in quotient.
gradient - Computer Definition
A smooth blending of shades from light to dark or from one color to another. In 2D drawing programs and paint programs, gradients are used to create colorful backgrounds and special effects as well as to simulate lights and shadows. In 3D graphics programs, lighting can be rendered automatically by the software. See 3D graphics.
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gradient - Medical Definition
- 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.
gradient - Science Definition
- The degree to which something inclines; a slope. A mountain road with a gradient of ten percent rises one foot for every ten feet of horizontal length.
- The rate at which a physical quantity, such as temperature or pressure changes over a distance.
- A operator on scalar fields yielding a vector function, where the value of the vector evaluated at any point indicates the direction and degree of change of the field at that point.
The gradient on the left is gentle enough for trees to take root. The gradient on the right is too steep.
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