Meaning of gradual in English:


Pronunciation /ˈɡradʒʊəl/

See synonyms for gradual

Translate gradual into Spanish


  • 1Taking place or progressing slowly or by degrees.

    ‘the gradual introduction of new methods’
    • ‘Her success has been a gradual progression over a 14-year career.’
    • ‘Blake explains that the gradual progression of translating and interpreting the original texts lays the foundations for the shape of the finished product.’
    • ‘If Graham had stayed, he would have approved of that gradual progression, but warned against the dangers of moving too fast, of doing too well.’
    • ‘His progress has been gradual, and forged through relentless hard work.’
    • ‘Progress may be gradual, and there are likely to be setbacks.’
    • ‘It has been a gradual progression to be more independent and develop myself personally that has resulted in the move to open my own nursery.’
    • ‘Once gradual progress is being made there is no need for immediate assistance.’
    • ‘Your progress should be gradual, starting off with one game a week, and working up to three.’
    • ‘The stages of the patient's progress through illness and gradual recovery are also charted in his physical passage through different types of wards.’
    • ‘Returning to the game wasn't a gradual progression.’
    • ‘Some of you may choose a gradual progression from selling to friends, to selling at fairs and shows, to retail selling and so on.’
    • ‘It does not happen suddenly; it is more like a gradual ember of desire slowly building into a flame that could not be denied.’
    • ‘The lights went up slowly, in a gradual buildup that didn't hurt the eyes.’
    • ‘The only indication of their progress was the gradual change in vegetation.’
    • ‘Careers were marked by a gradual progression, and training was offered by most employers.’
    • ‘In the next five decades, from 1920 to 1970, gradual and quiet progress was made for woman in several areas.’
    • ‘Progression is not as rapid as I wish, but I am sated by the gradual marked progression that I can see and acknowledge.’
    • ‘Milan's coaches initially saw him as very much a future prospect, intending a ‘calm and gradual introduction to the side.’’
    • ‘Following this path of gradual introduction to public exhibitions through accumulated experience is the best way for anyone.’
    • ‘Seedlings planted in raised sunny spots also enjoy a more gradual introduction to weather changes and are better able to withstand the colds of winter.’
    slow, moderate, measured, unhurried, restrained, cautious, circumspect, unspectacular
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  • 2(of a slope) not steep or abrupt.

    ‘Carrying such massive equipment, the difference of a few feet in height, or of riding up an easy, gradual slope, is very significant.’
    • ‘There is also some issue as to whether there are, in effect two slopes, being the gradual slope of the deck, and then a steeper slope from the deck towards the catch basin.’
    • ‘Then came a long and gradual slope down to a lake-filled valley, followed by a switchback road along which we overtook a pair of tough old hikers who were walking at quite a pace.’
    • ‘Very rarely do pools have a gradual slope into the deep end.’
    • ‘It is quite a shallow beach with only a gradual slope.’
    • ‘I do remember sitting in the exact same spot a few months ago, and then, the beach had a gradual slope to the ocean.’
    • ‘Suddenly, it is as though we are cycling up a long, gradual slope.’
    • ‘Most terraces in Ohio are designed with gradual slopes to lead water safely into grass waterways or other suitable outlets.’
    • ‘The fringing reef drops to 5m and a gradual slope of sand and coral boulders extends to the outer reef.’
    • ‘The orchestra seats slope upwards towards the stage in a gradual incline that makes the 9-foot-high stage seem even higher.’
    • ‘I lean away from him, straining to see what is just over the rise, but the gradual incline had turned into a steep drop and it was impossible to see what lay hidden.’
    • ‘First there are steep stone steps, then a gradual rise, a levelling out, a swoop to the top and a steep drop to the stone steps on the other side.’
    • ‘Some of the steep grades in earlier plans have also been made more gradual.’
    • ‘Our house sits on a fair bit of lawn, but it is all on a gradual incline.’
    • ‘Hart took no notice and kept trekking down the gradual incline.’
    • ‘It has a wonderfully smooth car park, with a gradual incline at one end.’
    • ‘I think it is a more gradual climb and less of an incline going up the mountain.’
    • ‘The differences in proportions are often small, and, furthermore they often follow gradual geographical clines rather than abrupt changes.’
    • ‘We were nearing the top of the gradual incline we had been driving up ever since we'd left the main road.’
    gentle, not steep, moderate, slight, easy, subtle, imperceptible
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(also Gradual)
  • 1(in the Western Christian Church) a response sung or recited between the Epistle and Gospel in the Mass.

    ‘The chants set were Vespers responsories, Mass graduals, and alleluias, and perhaps some processional antiphons.’
    • ‘The construction of the second movement is descended from plainchant graduals and hymns.’
    1. 1.1A book of plainsong for the Mass.


Late Middle English from medieval Latin gradualis, from Latin gradus ‘step’. The original sense of the adjective was ‘arranged in degrees’; the noun refers to the altar steps in a church, from which the antiphons were sung.