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Definition the slope of a hill; or (more rarely) any value relative to another


a change (measured in specific units) of some physical quantity or its rate of change
  • That section of the road has a five-degree gradient.
gradient = slope
  • ...a "social gradient of health" exists even among the rich: the outlandishly wealthy live healthier and longer than the rich, who live better than the merely comfortable.
    Laura Blue  --  Time, "Narrowing World Health Disparities", 8/28/08
  • Pressure predictions can be based on temperature gradient rather than on temperature magnitude.
  • Because glucose phosphate is a different molecule, it does not contribute to the glucose gradient.
  • The program provides a gradient map to select color.
  • He saw these kinds of gradients all the time.
    Dan Brown  --  The Lost Symbol
  • "The plates create a gravitational gradient," Diw said.
    John Ringo  --  Live Free or Die
  • On the upside, the Daisy Cutter is extremely reliable, no problems with wind speed or thermal gradient.
    Marcus Luttrell  --  Lone Survivor
  • Prices were like the roads of the period, steep in gradient, reflecting in their phases the local conditions, without engineering, levellings, or averages.
    Thomas Hardy  --  The Mayor of Casterbridge
  • Some said that the sudden stop had damaged the air brakes, others that they were on a steep gradient and the engine could not make it.
    Boris Pasternak  --  Doctor Zhivago
  • In English, they would be free of the sharply denned gradients of Korean hierarchy: formal deference, informal deference, blunt, familiar, intimate, and plain.
    Malcolm Gladwell  --  Outliers
  • All morning the climb proceeded, slowly and by easy gradients; but at such height the physical effort was considerable, and none had energy to spare for talk.
    James Hilton  --  Lost Horizon
  • The air grew cooler; they had surmounted the last gradient, and Oniton lay below them with its church, its radiating houses, its castle, its river-girt peninsula.
    E.M. Forster  --  Howards End
  • Tonight, Comroe was reviewing a journal article titled "Stoichiometrics of Oxygen-Carrying Capacity and Diffusion Gradients with Increased Arterial Gas Tensions."
    Michael Crichton  --  The Andromeda Strain
  • Partners In Health believed in sending resources from the United States to Cange, down "the steep gradient of inequality," so as to provide services to the desperately poor—directly, now.
    Tracy Kidder  --  Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • A wall of superb rocks stood before us, imposing in its sheer mass: a pile of gigantic stone blocks, an enormous granite cliffside pitted with dark caves but not offering a single gradient we could climb up.
    Jules Verne  --  Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
  • He had picked this precise spot for his homestead because it was the highest ground in the area, with a steep gradient to the river, ideal for planting the oranges just imported from Spain and the Far East.
    Pat Frank  --  Alas, Babylon
  • Close on the rear of this came a couple of cabs, the forerunners of a long procession of flying vehicles, going for the most part to Chalk Farm station, where the North-Western special trains were loading up, instead of coming down the gradient into Euston.
    H.G. Wells  --  The War of the Worlds
  • And this is a map of everything and everywhere, and the future is on the right and the past is on the left and the gradient of the line c is the speed of light, but we can't know about the things which happen in the shaded areas even though some of them have already happened, but when we get to fit will be possible to find out about things which happen in the lighter areas p and q. And this means that time is a mystery, and not even a thing, and no one has ever solved the puzzle of...
    Mark Haddon  --  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
  • We came to a little flight of rough rock steps cut into the gradient.
    Marcus Luttrell  --  Lone Survivor

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