Meaning of gradient

gra•di•ent

Pronunciation: (grā'dē-unt), [key]
— n.
  1. the degree of inclination, or the rate of ascent or descent, in a highway, railroad, etc.
  2. an inclined surface; grade; ramp.
    1. the rate of change with respect to distance of a variable quantity, as temperature or pressure, in the direction of maximum change.
    2. a curve representing such a rate of change.
  3. a differential operator that, operating upon a function of several variables, results in a vector the coordinates of which are the partial derivatives of the function. Abbr.: grad. Symbol: ▿
—adj.
  1. rising or descending by regular degrees of inclination.
  2. progressing by walking; stepping with the feet as animals do.
  3. of a type suitable for walking or running, as the feet of certain birds; gressorial.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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