Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Gravel


English Wikipedia has an article on:
Gravel: fragments of rocks
A gravel road


From Middle English gravel, grauel, from Old French gravele, diminutive of grave (gravel, seashore), from Medieval Latin grava, ultimately from Proto-Celtic *grāwā (gravel, pebbles) (compare Breton groa, Cornish grow, Welsh gro), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰroh₁weh₂, from *gʰreh₁w- (to grind). Compare also Old English græfa (coal).


  • IPA(key): /ˈɡɹævəl/
  • Rhymes: -ævəl
    • (file)


gravel (usually uncountable, plural gravels)

  1. (uncountable) Small fragments of rock, used for laying on the beds of roads and railways, and as ballast.
  2. A type or grade of small rocks, differentiated by mineral type, size range, or other characteristics.
  3. (uncountable, geology) A particle from 2 to 64 mm in diameter, following the Wentworth scale.
    Coordinate terms: (>256 mm) boulder, (64–256 mm) cobble, (62.5 μm – 2 mm) sand, (3.9–62.5 μm) silt, (0.98–3.9 μm) clay, (0.95–977 nm) colloid
  4. (uncountable, archaic) Kidney stones; a deposit of small calculous concretions in the kidneys and the urinary or gall bladder; also, the disease of which they are a symptom.
  5. A lameness in the foot of a horse, usually caused by an abscess.
    • 1817, William Johnson, editor, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Judicature, E. F. Backus, page 211:
      The defendant below hired the horse to go from Cocksackie to Schodack, and the next day after his arrival at the latter place, the horse was found to be lame in one foot; and the lameness increasing, the defendant below was obliged to leave the horse there, and hire another with which to return. About four weeks after, the horse was brought home, and showed signs of gravel working out above the hoof.
    • 1972, James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small, St. Martin's Press, LCCN 72-79632, OCLC 727631694, page 22:
      'Looks like pus in the foot to me.'
      'I'll bet you're right,' Farnon said. 'They call it gravel around here, by the way. What do you suggest we do about it?'
  6. (rare) Inability to see at night; night blindness.
    • 1943, Bell Irvin Wiley, The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, LCCN 43-03253, OCLC 1150238100, page 255:
      A malady that was rare, but which because of its peculiarity elicited much comment, was "night blindness" or "gravel."


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


gravel (third-person singular simple present gravels, present participle gravelling or graveling, simple past and past participle gravelled or graveled)

  1. (transitive) To apply a layer of gravel to the surface of a road, etc.
    • 1905, John F. Hume, The Abolitionists[1]:
      We kept quietly on our way until we reached a place in the road that had been freshly graveled, and where the surface was covered with stones just suited to our use.
  2. To puzzle or annoy.
    • 1922, Herbert Quick, Vandemark's Folly[2]:
      It graveled me like sixty to pay such a price, but I had to do it because the season was just between hay and grass.
  3. To run (as a ship) upon the gravel or beach; to run aground; to cause to stick fast in gravel or sand.
    • 1605, William Camden, “Grave Speeches and wittie Apothegms of worthy Personages of this Realm in former times,” in Remaines Concerning Britain, London: Simon Miller, sixth impression, 1657, p. 243, [3]
      William Conqerour when he invaded this Iland, chanced at his arrival to be gravelled, and one of his feet stuck so fast in the sand, that he fell to the ground.
  4. To check or stop; to embarrass; to perplex.
  5. To hurt or lame (a horse) by gravel lodged between the shoe and foot.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for gravel in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913)

Usage notes[edit]





Borrowed from English gravel.


  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: gra‧vel


gravel m or n (uncountable)

  1. clay court (surface for playing tennis)