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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).



gravel ‎(usually uncountable, plural gravels)

  1. (uncountable) Small fragments of rock, used for laying on the beds of roads and railroads, 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
  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.



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See alsoEdit


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.
    • Bible, Acts xxvii. 41 (Rhemish version)
      When we were fallen into a place between two seas, they gravelled the ship.
    • 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.
    • 1579, Sir Thomas North, tr., Plutarch's Lives, The Life of Marcus Antonius:
      The physician was so gravelled and amazed withal, that he had not a word more to say.
    • 1598, Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act IV:
      When you were gravelled for lack of matter.
    • 1830, Joseph Plumb Martin, A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier, Ch. VIII:
      [] I arrived at a spot where I was completely gravelled, and could go no farther one way or the other; []
  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.

Usage notesEdit




  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: gra‧vel


Borrowing from English gravel.


gravel m, n ‎(uncountable)

  1. clay court (surface for playing tennis)