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[uh-kree-shuh n] /əˈkri ʃən/
an increase by natural growth or by gradual external addition; growth in size or extent.
the result of this process.
an added part; addition:
The last part of the legend is a later accretion.
the growing together of separate parts into a single whole.
Law. increase of property by gradual natural additions, as of land by alluvion.
1605-15; < Latin accrētiōn- (stem of accrētiō), equivalent to accrēt(us), past participle of accrēscere to grow (ac- ac- + crē- grow + -tus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
accretive, accretionary, adjective
nonaccretion, noun
nonaccretive, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for accretions
  • Search committees are accretions of sometimes unwilling or inattentive people who can be amateurs when it comes to hiring.
  • But these fragile accretions work rather well, they say, and would not survive piecemeal attempts to reform and tweak them.
  • And that he does, with becoming accretions of humor and poignancy.
  • Astronomers believe that galaxies form and evolve through accretions and mergers with other smaller bodies.
  • The collection also includes some accretions and other loose materials that have not been fully processed.
  • accretions to this group include additional materials related to the aforementioned series.
  • The purpose of this personnel letter is to transmit revised policy on accretions of duty.
British Dictionary definitions for accretions


any gradual increase in size, as through growth or external addition
something added, esp extraneously, to cause growth or an increase in size
the growing together of normally separate plant or animal parts
  1. abnormal union or growing together of parts; adhesion
  2. a mass of foreign matter collected in a cavity
(law) an increase in the share of a beneficiary in an estate, as when a co-beneficiary fails to take his share
(astronomy) the process in which matter under the influence of gravity is attracted to and increases the mass of a celestial body. The matter usually forms an accretion disc around the accreting object
(geology) the process in which a continent is enlarged by the tectonic movement and deformation of the earth's crust
Derived Forms
accretive, accretionary, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin accretiō increase, from accrēscere. See accrue
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for accretions



1610s, from Latin accretionem (nominative accretio) "an increasing, a growing larger" (e.g. of the waxing moon), noun of action from past participle stem of accrescere, from ad- "to" (see ad-) + crescere "grow" (see crescent).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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accretions in Medicine

accretion ac·cre·tion (ə-krē'shən)

  1. Growth or increase in size by gradual external addition, fusion, or inclusion.

  2. Increase by addition to the periphery of material of the same nature as that already present, as in the growth of crystals. Also called accrementition.

  3. Foreign material, such as plaque or calculus, collecting on the surface of a tooth or in a cavity.

  4. The growing together or adherence of body parts that are normally separate.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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accretions in Science
  1. Geology The gradual extension of land by natural forces, as in the addition of sand to a beach by ocean currents, or the extension of a floodplain through the deposition of sediments by repeated flooding.

  2. Astronomy The accumulation of additional mass in a celestial object by the drawing together of interstellar gas and surrounding objects by gravity.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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