Definition of gravel in US English:



  • 1A loose aggregation of small water-worn or pounded stones.

    • ‘The bottom is best covered with relatively fine gravel and some flat rocks.’
    • ‘Large stones have been carefully arranged to sit like islands in the immaculately raked gravel.’
    • ‘The pond can be an actual pond or represented by raked gravel.’
    • ‘A slightly sloping gravel path approaches the cabin and is terraced in two places.’
    • ‘Walking across the street, loose gravel crunching under the brand new boots I'd bought.’
    • ‘The path is of compacted gravel and in generally good condition.’
    • ‘The first section of the path is of compacted gravel and suitable for wheelchair access.’
    • ‘They turned to face the long gravel drive way lined with large green trees.’
    • ‘Loose gravel crunched under the rigid bases of her knee-high black boots.’
    • ‘Put a layer of gravel in the bottoms of pots to provide drainage.’
    • ‘Keep their roots shaded with gravel or some large stones, mulch them now and then and they'll be happy for years.’
    • ‘Except for the sound of crunching gravel under shifting feet, there was absolute silence.’
    • ‘Wrought iron gates open onto a gravel driveway which winds up to the house.’
    • ‘Measuring around 128 square metres, the house is approached via a gravel driveway.’
    • ‘He paced off the terrace and down the gravel path to the coach house.’
    • ‘The sound of crunching gravel interrupted my reverie.’
    • ‘Find a new home for potted plants or spread aquarium gravel over the dirt to help contain mold.’
    • ‘Cat stood up and walked towards the fence, gravel crunching beneath her shoes.’
    • ‘The beds are surrounded with pea gravel for a clean look and low maintenance.’
    • ‘For plants that need free drainage I add very coarse sand or fine gravel.’
    shingle, grit, pebbles, stones
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A mixture of small stones with coarse sand, used for paths and roads and as an aggregate.
      • ‘What separates roads from gravel paths, is the degree of asphalting they have been dressed with.’
      • ‘There are many thousands of miles of gravel roads; they enjoy grading at least once a year.’
      • ‘Sand or gravel is spread below where the concrete is poured.’
      • ‘Two dens were on lake shores and another on the edge of an abandoned oil field gravel pad.’
      • ‘But recovered concrete can be crushed and used as road gravel or aggregate.’
    2. 1.2 A stratum or deposit of gravel.
      • ‘They form relict deposits on continental shelves and sometimes thin contemporary deposits - gravel lags where currents are sufficiently strong.’
      • ‘Complex sand waves, bipolar cross-bedding and gravel lag deposits compare with both fluvial and shallow marine settings.’
      • ‘The basalt flows and gravel deposits were lifted to high altitudes by continuing upward tectonics.’
      • ‘The cores of the ridges are composed of muddy-sandy gravel, interpreted as a reworked ice-marginal deposit dominated by glaciofluvial material.’
      • ‘The shallow soils are derived from fluvial gravel overlain by multiple Holocene volcanic ash deposits and aeolian dust.’
    3. 1.3Medicine Aggregations of crystals formed in the urinary tract.
      • ‘Renal stones can in fact mean renal gravel, this is just as painful, but is only sand sized grains that don't show up on X-ray.’
      • ‘The authors draw the attention to the side-effect of the medicament, which might cause renal gravel formation.’
      • ‘The cystic gravel assumes a crystalline, and as it were a waxy appearance.’
      • ‘Its relaxant powers makes it also useful to facilitate the passage of renal calculi and cystic gravel.’
      • ‘Cystic gravel is of a yellow colour, and appears crystalline even to the naked eye.’


[with object]
  • 1Cover (an area of ground) with gravel.

    ‘they graveled the road’
    • ‘The rear garden is laid in a mix of timber decking and a higher gravelled area with mature plants, shrubs and trees.’
    • ‘The large area to the rear of the house is also graveled but could be developed as a lawn by new owners.’
    • ‘A long graveled driveway led us from the main road all the way to very front of the building that wrapped around a small fountain with the statue of an angel dancing in the center.’
    • ‘This looks out through a glass wall over a ramp which leads down one level to the small gravelled courtyard at the heart of the place.’
    • ‘There is a gravelled parking area, a timber garden shed and a south-east facing patio garden.’
    • ‘The house faces the river while the stable block, which is derelict, as well as an orchard, garden and gravelled area are at the back.’
    • ‘Double-glazed French windows open onto a limestone gravelled area at the back of the property which would make an ideal location for al fresco dining.’
    • ‘He also said they are getting a lot of requests to gravel field access roads.’
    • ‘Outside, the back garden is landscaped with a rockery area, lawn, patio area and gravelled area incorporating shrubs and climbers.’
    • ‘‘A roughly graveled area used for parking cars grabbed my imagination,’ she says.’
    • ‘After 350 metres, it becomes very steep, it isn't gravelled and is not suitable for wheelchairs.’
    • ‘‘Right away,’ the guard said, rushing to lead them down the neat, graveled pathway, past the neatly trimmed hedges and sparkling marble fountains set amid bright green grass and brilliant red roses.’
    • ‘Suddenly there was a flash of light on his far right, deep inside the grounds at the end of a straight gravelled road that branched off from a circular drive behind the bathhouse.’
    • ‘A tarmac path, lightly gravelled, carpeted with late and fading blossom frames the foreground.’
    • ‘A long avenue bordered with mature lime trees leads to an inner front garden and gravelled forecourt.’
    • ‘A small gravelled area is the first thing one encounters, southwest - facing and with a thin layer of soil covering spoil from a demolition.’
    • ‘There is a gravelled parking area to the front and side of the house that could accommodate 10 cars.’
    • ‘Inside, the pathways are gravelled and there are neat rectangles of earth for the children to work on.’
    • ‘The only area to the side of the house was gravelled, a surface which would certainly not be child friendly.’
    • ‘The main area around the buildings is gravelled, and there is a small lawn facing the lake and a concrete path skirts the house.’
  • 2US informal Make (someone) angry or annoyed.

    ‘this was a bad strike, and it graveled him to involve himself in it’
    • ‘It really gravels me that everything was cut; they clear-cut everything.’
    • ‘That woman's hypocrisy really gravels me for some reason.’
    • ‘We always get lumped into the same category, which really gravels me.’
    • ‘English gravelled him to death, because he had not the command of English that he had of his native tongue.’
    • ‘This story, like a lot of other ones about us, really gravels me.’
    annoy, vex, make angry, make cross, anger, exasperate, bother, irk, gall, pique, put out, displease, get someone's back up, put someone's back up, antagonize, get on someone's nerves, rub up the wrong way, try someone's patience, ruffle, ruffle someone's feathers, make someone's hackles rise, raise someone's hackles
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1archaic Confuse or puzzle (someone).
      • ‘And this question gravelled them, and ran them aground, and served to shame them before the people.’
      • ‘No, I take my oath that the thing that gravelled him most, to start with, was not this, but the price he had fetched! He couldn't seem to get over that seven dollars.’
      • ‘The most difficult questions in the Cabinet never gravelled him; the most novel situations could not bewilder his clear judgment.’
      perplex, confuse, bewilder, bemuse, baffle, mystify, confound, nonplus, throw, set someone thinking
      View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French, diminutive of grave (see grave).