1an inclined part of a road or railway; a slope:fail-safe brakes for use on steep gradients the degree of a slope:the path becomes very rough as the gradient increases Mathematics the degree of steepness of a graph at any point.
2 Physics an increase or decrease in the magnitude of a property (e.g. temperature, pressure, or concentration) observed in passing from one point or moment to another. the rate of such a change. Mathematics the vector formed by the operator ∇ acting on a scalar function at a given point in a scalar field.