degree

noun
de·​gree | \ di-ˈgrē How to pronounce degree (audio) \

Definition of degree

1 : a step or stage in a process, course, or order of classification advanced by degrees We all know that you're only three degrees away from all sorts of interesting and even famous people on social media.— Alex Proud
2a : a rank or grade of official, ecclesiastical, or social position people of low degree
b archaic : a particular standing especially as to dignity or worth
c : the civil (see civil sense 4) condition or status of a person
3 genealogy : a step in a direct line of descent or in the line of ascent to a common ancestor
4a obsolete : step, stair
b archaic : a member of a series arranged in steps (as of parts of a structure)
5 medical : a measure of damage to tissue caused by injury or disease — compare first-degree burn, second-degree burn, third-degree burn
6a : the extent, measure, or scope of an action, condition, or relation different in degree but not in kind requiring a high degree of skill
b : relative intensity a high degree of stress
c grammar : one of the forms or sets of forms used in the comparison of an adjective or adverb
d law : a legal measure of guilt or negligence found guilty of murder in the first degree
7a education : a title conferred on students by a college, university, or professional school on completion of a program of study earned her four-year degree associate's degrees has a degree in psychology
b : a grade of membership attained in a ritualistic order or society received his first degree in the Knights of Columbus
c : an academic title conferred to honor distinguished achievement or service The actor was presented with an honorary degree.
d : the formal ceremonies observed in the conferral of such a distinction
8 mathematics : a unit of measure for angles equal to an angle with its vertex at the center of a circle and its sides cutting off ¹/₃₆₀ of the circumference a fifteen degree angle 47 degrees Latitude also : a unit of measure for arcs of a circle equal to the amount of arc that subtends a central angle of one degree
9 archaic : a position or space on the earth or in the heavens as measured by degrees of latitude
10 music
a : a step, note, or tone of a scale
b : a line or space of the musical staff
11 : one of the divisions or intervals marked on a scale of a measuring instrument specifically : any of various units for measuring temperature 350 degrees Fahrenheit
12 mathematics
a : the sum of the exponents of the variables in the term of highest degree in a polynomial, polynomial function, or polynomial equation
b : the sum of the exponents of the variable factors of a monomial
c : the greatest power of the derivative of highest order in a differential equation after the equation has been rationalized (see rationalize sense 2) and cleared of fractions with respect to the derivative
to a degree
1 : to a remarkable extent : exceedingly I felt desolate to a degree— Charlotte Brontë
2 : in a small way to a degree he succeeded

Illustration of degree

Illustration of degree

degree 8

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Other Words from degree

degreed \ di-​ˈgrēd How to pronounce degree (audio) \ adjective

Examples of degree in a Sentence

There are 360 degrees in a circle. These trees will thrive, to a greater or lesser degree, in a number of climates.
Recent Examples on the Web William Wallace, 39, of Anaheim was convicted of second-degree murder earlier this year for the 2011 killing of Za’Zell Preston, 26. Fox News, 7 June 2021 The 13-year-old co-respondent pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Thursday and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 6. Washington Post, 4 June 2021 Prosecutors had sought life in prison for Kenneth Manzanares, who pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kristy Manzanares. CBS News, 4 June 2021 Castleberry was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, discharging a firearm in city limits, and disorderly conduct. Miguel Torres, The Arizona Republic, 3 June 2021 Brandi Nicole Parrish, 38, is charged with second-degree murder in the Wednesday slaying of 47-year-old Patrick Lane Jones. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 3 June 2021 Linebacker Isimemen Etute was identified as a person of interest and later charged with second-degree murder, police said. Emily Shapiro, ABC News, 3 June 2021 Prosecutors had sought life in prison for Kenneth Manzanares, who pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kristy Manzanares, when both were 39 years old. Becky Bohrer, Anchorage Daily News, 3 June 2021 Isimemen Etute, 18, was charged with the second-degree murder of 40-year-old Jerry Smith, the Blacksburg Police announced on Wednesday. Kelsie Smith And Rebekah Riess, CNN, 3 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'degree.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of degree

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for degree

Middle English, from Anglo-French degré, from Vulgar Latin *degradus, from Latin de- + gradus — see degrade

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Time Traveler for degree

Time Traveler

The first known use of degree was in the 13th century

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Statistics for degree

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Degree.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/degree. Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for degree

degree

noun

English Language Learners Definition of degree

: a unit for measuring temperature
: a unit for measuring the size of an angle
: an amount or level that can be measured or compared to another amount or level

degree

noun
de·​gree | \ di-ˈgrē How to pronounce degree (audio) \

Kids Definition of degree

1 : a step in a series His health improved by degrees.
2 : amount of something as measured by a series of steps a high degree of progress
3 : one of the three forms an adjective or adverb may have when it is compared
4 : a title given (as to students) by a college or university She received a degree of doctor of medicine.
5 : one of the divisions marked on a measuring instrument (as a thermometer)
6 : a 360th part of the circumference of a circle
7 : a line or space of the staff in music or the difference in pitch between two notes

degree

noun
de·​gree | \ di-ˈgrē How to pronounce degree (audio) \

Medical Definition of degree

1 : a measure of damage to tissue caused by injury or disease — see first-degree burn, second-degree burn, third-degree burn
2a : a title conferred on students by a college, university, or professional school on completion of a unified program of study
b : an academic title conferred honorarily
3 : one of the divisions or intervals marked on a scale of a measuring instrument specifically : any of various units for measuring temperature
4 : a 360th part of the circumference of a circle

Other Words from degree

degreed \ -​ˈgrēd How to pronounce degree (audio) \ adjective

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degree

noun
de·​gree

Legal Definition of degree

1 : a step in a direct line of descent or in the line of ascent to a common ancestor
2a : a measure of the seriousness of a crime — see also fifth degree, first degree, fourth degree, second degree, third degree

Note: Crimes are rated by degrees for the purpose of imposing more severe punishments for more serious crimes.

b : a measure of care also : a measure of negligence especially in connection with bailments — see also care, negligence

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