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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from degree

degreed \ di-​ˈgrēd How to pronounce degreed (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 The navel becomes closed off once the umbilical cord is detached at birth, so according to expert opinion, putting diluted oils in your belly button would most likely have the same degree of benefits as applying oil to any other part of the skin. Melissa Badamo, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Benefits derived from putting essential oils in belly button are questionable," 3 July 2020 The process of vetting potential business partners should be maintained, even though some flexibility may be required in the degree of scrutiny exercised. Alexandra Wrage, STAT, "Pharma companies need extra anti-corruption vigilance during a pandemic," 2 July 2020 Ruiz advises parents create some kind of liability waiver, cobbled together from information available online, as that may provide some degree of legal buffer. Constance Sommer, Washington Post, "Summer ‘camp’ with the neighborhood teens. Is it worth the risk?," 2 July 2020 But against formidable odds and limited options, laam caau holds out some degree of hope. Mary Hui, Quartz, "“Laam Caau:” The high-stakes game that Hong Kong protesters are waging with China," 30 June 2020 This action comes about a month after the Trump administration declared Hong Kong no longer maintained a high degree of autonomy from China, due to Beijing's plan to impose the new national security law on the city. James Griffiths, CNN, "China to impose tit-for-tat visa restrictions on US officials over Hong Kong," 29 June 2020 While other states and entities elsewhere have put together reopening playbooks, very few have had the degree of precision found in these documents, Muro said. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, "Some states are seeing coronavirus cases skyrocket. We're not. At least not yet. Why?," 29 June 2020 The riot and break-ins came just as downtown retailers were hoping some degree of normalcy was returning. oregonlive, "Downtown retailers still reeling from fiery riots and city’s meek response: “It was chaos”," 27 June 2020 The degree of difficulty has only increased following a two-month production shutdown to slow the spread of the cononavirus, which Ford has said will result in a $5 billion operating loss this quarter. Keith Naughton, Fortune, "Ford reveals the redesign of its biggest moneymaker, the F-150 pickup," 26 June 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about degree

Time Traveler for degree

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for degree

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Degree.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/degree. Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for degree

degree

noun
How to pronounce degree (audio)

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 degreed (audio) \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on degree

What made you want to look up degree? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!