Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One of a series of steps or tiered seats, as in an amphitheater.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of a series of terraced steps or seats, as in an arena or an altar.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any member like a step, as the raised back of an altar or the like; a set raised over another.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One of a series of steps or seats raised one above another.
  • n. An altar-ledge or altar-shelf; one of the steps, ledges, or shelves above and back of an altar, on which the altar-cross or crucifix, flower-vases, candlesticks, etc., are placed.
  • n. A toothed chisel used by sculptors.

Etymologies

French, from Italian gradino, diminutive of grado, step, from Latin gradus; see grade.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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  • /ˈgreɪdɪn; Fr. graˈdɛ̃/
    1. one of a series of steps or seats raised one above another.
    2. Ecclesiastical. a shelf or one of a series of shelves behind and above an altar.

    -- dictionary.com

    September 30, 2008