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I am having difficulty understanding and using the word "accretion". From what I understand , it means to gradually save a definite amount from a source. So is the following sentence valid?

James bought this car using the accretion amount that he saved

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1 Answer

From Google's dictionary:

ac·cre·tion noun /əˈkrēSHən/  accretions, plural

  1. The process of growth or increase, typically by the gradual accumulation of additional layers or matter

    • the accretion of sediments in coastal mangroves
    • the growing accretion of central government authority
  2. A thing formed or added by such growth or increase

    • about one-third of California was built up by accretions
    • the city has a historic core surrounded by recent accretions
  3. The coming together and cohesion of matter under the influence of gravitation to form larger bodies

So the sentence in question is wrong for two reasons; firstly, accretion is a noun, whereas your sentence uses it as an adjective. Secondly, accretion seems to refer to natural buildup, not the act of intentionally saving (from your example) money.

I think the word that you're looking for might be accrue. From Merriam-Webster, a definition of accrue:

To accumulate or be added periodically (interest accrues on a daily basis)

So, you could say:

James bought this car using the accrued amount he had saved.

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Please link to your sources and also reword the OP's sentence so that it makes sense :) –  coleopterist Aug 5 '12 at 7:07
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To clarify @coleopterist's comment: don't change the question, provide the corrected sentence in the answer. (I had to think about what was meant; it's entirely possible I'm not the only one!) –  Andrew Leach Aug 5 '12 at 7:44
    
Thanks @AndrewLeach :) –  coleopterist Aug 5 '12 at 7:47
    
I agree that the concepts of accretion and erosion are most often used for natural phenomena. However, they may be used metaphorically, such as "my savings were slowly eroded by the downturn" or "the hill of junk in my back yard has grown into a mountain; it was a process of slow accretion". –  bib Aug 5 '12 at 11:55
    
@coleopterist Link added, thanks :) And JR edited in the sentence. Thanks for the tips! –  WendiKidd Aug 5 '12 at 18:21
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