degree

noun

de·​gree di-ˈgrē How to pronounce degree (audio)
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
2
a
: 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
4
a
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
6
a
: 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
7
a
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
degreed adjective

Illustration of degree

Illustration of degree
  • degree 8
Phrases
to a degree
1
: to a remarkable extent : exceedingly
I felt desolate to a degreeCharlotte Brontë
2
: in a small way
to a degree he succeeded

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 Temperatures and rainfall can vary by several degrees or inches. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2024 For the last five years, my lead chemist, Armando, has developed new products that people with advanced chemistry degrees have assured me are impossible to make. Robert Johnson, Rolling Stone, 17 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for degree 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'degree.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near degree

Cite this Entry

“Degree.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/degree. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

degree

noun
de·​gree di-ˈgrē How to pronounce degree (audio)
1
: a step or stage in a process or series
advance by degrees
2
a
: the intensity of something as measured by degrees
murder in the first degree
b
: one of the forms used in the comparison of an adjective or adverb
3
: a rank or grade of official or social position
persons of high degree
4
a
: a grade of membership in an order or society
b
: a title given a student by a college, university, or professional school upon completion of a program of study
a degree of doctor of medicine
c
: an academic title granted to honor a person who is not a student
5
: one of the divisions marked on a measuring instrument (as a device for measuring temperature)
6
: a unit of measure for angles and arcs that for angles is equal to an angle with its vertex at the center of a circle and its sides cutting off ¹⁄₃₆₀ of the circumference and that for an arc of a circle is equal to ¹⁄₃₆₀ of the circumference
7
a
: a line or space of the musical staff
b
: a step, note, or tone of a musical scale

Medical Definition

degree

noun
de·​gree di-ˈgrē How to pronounce degree (audio)
1
: a measure of damage to tissue caused by injury or disease see first-degree burn, second-degree burn, third-degree burn
2
a
: 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
degreed adjective

Legal Definition

degree

noun
de·​gree
1
: a step in a direct line of descent or in the line of ascent to a common ancestor
2
a
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on degree

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