AskDefine | Define accretion

Dictionary Definition



1 an increase by natural growth or addition [syn: accumulation]
2 something contributing to growth or increase; "he scraped away the accretions of paint"; "the central city surrounded by recent accretions"
3 (astronomy) the formation of a celestial object by the effect of gravity pulling together surrounding objects and gases
4 (biology) growth by addition as by the adhesion of parts or particles
5 (geology) an increase in land resulting from alluvial deposits or water-borne sediment
6 (law) an increase in a beneficiary's share in an estate (as when a co-beneficiary dies or fails to meet some condition or rejects the inheritance)

User Contributed Dictionary



Latin accretio, from accrescere to increase. Compare crescent, increase, accrue


IPA: WEAE /ʌˈkɹi.ʃən/


  1. The act of increasing by natural growth; esp. the increase of organic bodies by the internal accession of parts; organic growth.
  2. The act of increasing, or the matter added, by an accession of parts externally; an extraneous addition; as, an accretion of earth.
    • A mineral ... augments not by grown, but by accretion.
    • To strip off all the subordinate parts of his as a later accretion - George Cornewall Lewis
  3. concretion; coherence of separate particles; as, the accretion of particles so as to form a solid mass.
  4. A growing together of parts naturally separate, as of the fingers or toes.
  5. The adhering of property to something else, by which the owner of one thing becomes possessed of a right to another; generally, gain of land by the washing up of sand or sail from the sea or a river, or by a gradual recession of the water from the usual watermark.
  6. Gain to an heir or legatee, failure of a coheir to the same succession, or a co-legatee of the same thing, to take his share.


act of increasing by natural growth

Related terms


  • Webster 1913

Extensive Definition

Accretion may refer to:

Accretion in science

In science, accretion is a process in which the size of something gradually increases by steady addition of smaller parts. This term is used with specific meanings in several scientific fields:
accretion in Polish: Akrecja
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