1. the act or process of forming or arranging in grades, stages, or steps
2. a gradual change by steps or stages from one condition, quality, etc. to another
4. a step, stage, or degree in a graded series; transitional stage
⇒ the many gradations between good and bad
6. Linguistics ablaut
: in full vowel gradation
Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, compiled by the
editors of Webster’s New World Dictionaries. Copyright © 2010 by Houghton
Mifflin Harcourt. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Word origin of 'gradation'
Fr < L gradatio
, having steps or grades < gradus
: see grade