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[n. sed-uh-muh nt; v. sed-uh-ment] /n. ˈsɛd ə mənt; v. 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.
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 sediments
  • They are well preserved, and encased in sediments that allow uncommonly precise dating.
  • More trees would ameliorate these difficulties, trapping sediments and nutrients as well as regulating the supply of fresh water.
  • It swirls around a bunch but then it settles on the continental shelf and eventually sediments into rock.
  • The wet sediments collect in low-lying areas and are rapidly buried by more and more debris eroding down from the mountains.
  • We know such things because sediments reveal history.
  • Some of these grains would fall into the lake, sink to the bottom and be incorporated into the sediments.
  • Typically, coal companies construct filtration ponds to capture sediments and valley-fill runoff.
  • Scientists can use a magnetometer to determine the orientation of the ancient sediments and date the rock to a specific era.
  • The portion of the crater within the landing area has an alluvial fan likely formed by water-carried sediments.
  • They also are trying to prepare maps of the bottom sediments.
British Dictionary definitions for sediments


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 sediments



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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sediments 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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sediments 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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