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

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 Baltimore Police arrested a 15-year-old boy and charged him with first-degree murder in connection to the shooting. Baltimore Sun, 26 July 2022 After a 12 day trial that ended Monday, a Multnomah County jury returned guilty verdicts Tuesday against Michael C. Ramirez on two counts each of second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon. oregonlive, 26 July 2022 Julia Leanna Tomlin, 37, pleaded guilty last December to second-degree murder, concealing a dead body and felony child abuse in the 2019 death of Noah Tomlin. Christine Pelisek, PEOPLE.com, 26 July 2022 Jerry Klahn is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Kenneth Baese, 60, and Eileen Baese, 57, according to Yuma police. Jose R. Gonzalez, The Arizona Republic, 26 July 2022 Barry Morphew, who pleaded for help finding his wife, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in 2021, but prosecutors dropped the charges in April. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 26 July 2022 Cruz pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of first-degree murder, so the jury will only decide if he is sentenced to death or life without parole. CBS News, 25 July 2022 If found guilty of the original first-degree murder charge at trial, Washington could have faced 30 or more years in prison. Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post, 25 July 2022 Cruz pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of first-degree murder, so the jury will only decide if he is sentenced to death or life without parole. Terry Spencer, ajc, 25 July 2022 See More

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.

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near degree

degrease

degree

degree course

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for degree

Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Degree.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/degree. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for degree

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on degree

Nglish: Translation of degree for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of degree for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about degree

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!