Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A series of gradual, successive stages or degrees.
  • noun One of these stages or degrees.
  • noun A gradual or barely perceptible change from one tone or shade, as of color, to another. synonym: nuance.
  • noun The act of gradating or arranging in grades.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In geology, the process of producing an even slope, by agencies of erosion and transportation, on which the supply and removal of rock-waste or detrital material are about balanced.
  • noun The act of grading, or the state of being graded; orderly or continuous arrangement or succession; serial order or sequence according to size, intensity, quality, rank, attainment, or the like.
  • noun Hence Progress from one degree or state to another; a regular advance from step to step: as, the gradations of an argument.
  • noun A degree or relative position in any order or series.
  • noun In the fine arts, the regular arrangement or subordination to one another of the parts of any work of art, so as to produce the best effect, as, in painting, the gradual blending of one tint into another.
  • noun In music, a diatonic ascending or descending succession of chords.
  • noun In philology, the relation of the radical vowels in a series of verbal forms or derivatives derived with variation from the same verbal root, as sing, sang, sung: same as ablaut.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb rare To form with gradations.
  • noun The act of progressing by regular steps or orderly arrangement; the state of being graded or arranged in ranks.
  • noun The act or process of bringing to a certain grade.
  • noun Any degree or relative position in an order or series.
  • noun (Fine Arts) A gradual passing from one tint to another or from a darker to a lighter shade, as in painting or drawing.
  • noun (Mus.) A diatonic ascending or descending succession of chords.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A sequence of gradual, successive stages; a systematic progression.
  • noun A passing by small degrees from one tone or shade, as of color, to another. See Synonyms at nuance.
  • noun The act of gradating or arranging in grades.
  • noun countable A calibration marking.
  • noun music A gradual change within one parameter, or an overlapping of two blocks of sound.
  • noun phonetics Apophony.
  • verb transitive To form with gradations.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun relative position in a graded series
  • noun a degree of ablaut
  • noun the act of arranging in grades

Etymologies

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

[Latin gradātiō, gradātiōn-, from gradus, step; see grade.]

Examples

  • I. i.37 (361,8) And not by old gradation] [W: Not (as of old)] _Old gradation_, is _gradation_ established by_ancient_ practice.

    Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies

  • In another "House," I have seen the children take the entire box, empty the sixty-four colour-tablets upon the table and after carefully mixing them, rapidly collect them into groups and arrange them in gradation, constructing a species of little carpet of delicately coloured and intermingling tints.

    The Montessori Method

  • With the third solid inset, the directress, when she has arranged the pieces in gradation, calls the child's attention to the first one, saying, "This is the largest," and to the last one, saying, "This is the smallest."

    The Montessori Method

  • [Page 343] temporaneous one of the recognition of tactile stimuli in gradation, prepares for writing.

    The Montessori Method

  • But is there no gradation from the man of strong and sound intellect, down to the idiot?

    Letter 172

  • She showed that the gradation is the same when the Slovenes say Ni vreden pol kurca!

    languagehat.com: SERBIAN SWEARING.

  • The gradation from the style of freedom and simplicity, to that of form and servitude, may be traced in the Epistles of Cicero, of Pliny, and of Symmachus.] 74 The emperor Gratian, after confirming a law of precedency published by Valentinian, the father of his Divinity, thus continues: Siquis igitur indebitum sibi locum usurpaverit, nulla se ignoratione defendat; sitque plane sacrilegii reus, qui divina praecepta neglexerit.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • As a rule, no colour exists in nature without gradation, which is to colours what curvature is to lines.

    Field's Chromatography or Treatise on Colours and Pigments as Used by Artists

  • This is a reversal of the more usual notion, but the idea of gradation is equally present.

    Form and Function A Contribution to the History of Animal Morphology

  • Von Baer also held that there are four distinct types of structure; he, too, combated the idea of gradation within the limits of the type.

    Form and Function A Contribution to the History of Animal Morphology

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