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[noun sed-uh-muh nt; verb sed-uh-ment] /noun ˈsɛd ə mənt; verb ˈsɛd əˌmɛnt/
the matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid; lees; dregs.
Geology. mineral or organic matter deposited by water, air, or ice.
verb (used with object)
to deposit as sediment.
verb (used without object)
to form or deposit sediment.
Origin of sediment
1540-50; < Latin sedimentum, equivalent to sedi- (combining form of sedēre to sit1, settle) + -mentum -ment
Related forms
sedimentous, adjective
self-sedimented, adjective
Can be confused
sand, sediment, silt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sediment
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • After the frying is done, the fat should be allowed to stand in a cool place to permit any sediment to settle.

    Fifty-Two Sunday Dinners Elizabeth O. Hiller
  • It will be noticed, however, that the sediment is heaped in the middle of the cell.

  • But a good deal of sediment is carried by the river out to sea.

  • A drainpipe from the bottom of the tank is also desirable to draw off the accumulations of sediment.

    Rural Hygiene Henry N. Ogden
  • Inject about a tablespoonful of this liquid and sediment up each nostril, with a syringe.

    Domestic Animals Richard L. Allen
British Dictionary definitions for sediment


matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid
material that has been deposited from water, ice, or wind
Derived Forms
sedimentous (ˌsɛdɪˈmɛntəs) adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Latin sedimentum a settling, from sedēre to sit
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 sediment

1540s, "matter which settles at the bottom of water or other liquid," from Middle French sédiment (16c.) and directly from Latin sedimentum "a settling, sinking down," from stem of sedere "to settle, sit" (see sedentary).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sediment in Medicine

sediment sed·i·ment (sěd'ə-mənt)
Insoluble material that sinks to the bottom of a liquid, as in hypostasis.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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sediment in Science
  1. Geology Solid fragmented material, such as silt, sand, gravel, chemical precipitates, and fossil fragments, that is transported and deposited by water, ice, or wind or that accumulates through chemical precipitation or secretion by organisms, and that forms layers on the Earth's surface. Sedimentary rocks consist of consolidated sediment.

  2. Chemistry

  3. Particles of solid matter that settle out of a suspension to the bottom of the liquid.

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