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 degreeb archaic : a particular standing especially as to dignity or worthc : the civil (see civil 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
6a : the extent, measure, or scope of an action, condition, or relation different in degree but not in kind requiring a high degree of skillb : relative intensity a high degree of stressc grammar : one of the forms or sets of forms used in the comparison of an adjective or adverbd 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 psychologyb : a grade of membership attained in a ritualistic order or society received his first degree in the Knights of Columbusc : 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
degreedplay \-ˈgrēd\ adjective
to a degree
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 of degree from the Web
Ramer earned her bachelor's degree in early childhood education this spring from Purdue University Northwest.
Christensen earned a master’s degree in physics from the University of Illinois in May and lived in nearby Champaign.
With a master’s degree in special education and five years’ experience, Sheehan made just $35,600 in his final year teaching algebra I at Norman High School.
A great composer and a great armpit-farter may be equally rich in their degree of talent, but not in the quality or desirability of their talents.
Students will complete their degree in August of the second year.
No injuries were reported The sisters have been charged with first-degree malicious burning and were released to the custody of their parents, the Fire Marshal's Office said.
Stone, though only 27, had achieved a degree of notoriety as one of Richard Nixon’s political dirty-tricksters.
To a genetically—celestially—engineered degree that could irradiate you.
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.
DEGREE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of degree for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of degree for Students
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
Word Root of degree
The Latin word gradus, meaning “step” or “degree,” gives us the root grad. Words from the Latin gradus have something to do with steps. Anything gradual happens slowly one step at a time. To degrade is to reduce from a higher to a lower degree. A grade is a step in school made up of one year of work. Even the word degree itself has gradus as its root.
Medical Definition of degree
2a: a title conferred on students by a college, university, or professional school on completion of a unified program of studyb: 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
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 Editor's 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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