Meaning of “gradual” in the English Dictionary

"gradual" in British English

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uk /ˈɡrædʒ.u.əl/ us /ˈɡrædʒ.u.əl/

B2 happening or changing slowly over a long period of time or distance:

There has been a gradual improvement in our sales figures over the last two years.
As you go further south, you will notice a gradual change of climate.

More examples

  • Her conversion to Buddhism/Islam was a very gradual process.
  • There has been a gradual degeneration of the judicial system in the last few years.
  • He suffered a gradual loss of memory.
  • There is a gradual build-up of suspense throughout the film, until it comes to an unexpected ending.
  • He lamented the gradual disintegration of family values.

(Definition of “gradual” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"gradual" in American English

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us /ˈɡrædʒ·u·əl/

changing or developing slowly or by small degrees:

He has suffered a gradual decline in health over the past year.
adverb us /ˈɡrædʒ·u·ə·li/

Sales of the product are improving gradually.

(Definition of “gradual” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)