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 \ -​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

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Egg Puzzle Cookies," 7 Mar. 2019 Hogie twists his head around 180 degrees, like one of the women in Death Becomes Her. Jesse Hassenger, The Verge, "Welcome to Marwen is Robert Zemeckis’ most revealing movie — and his worst," 20 Dec. 2018 That means cool temperatures (50-65 degrees, recommends a horticulture educator at the University of Illinois Extension) and no light (not even artificial). Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Christmas Cactus Care: Everything You Need to Know About the Holiday Plant," 1 Aug. 2018 Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Woman's Day, "Roasted Citrus Chicken Salad," 15 Feb. 2019 New York City broke a 118-year record that year with a low of just 4 degrees. Megan Stein, Country Living, "What Is the Polar Vortex? Here's What's Behind This Week's Life-Threatening Cold Weather," 29 Jan. 2019 Kuiper Belt objects are incredibly cold — just 35 degrees Kelvin above absolute zero. Loren Grush, The Verge, "On New Year’s Day, a spacecraft will zoom by the most distant object humanity has ever visited," 27 Dec. 2018 The Notebook 9 Pen's only saving graces were key pieces of Samsung software, including Air Command, that made the device similar to using a Samsung smartphone or tablet when flipped 360 degrees. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Our favorite (and least favorite) tech of 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 At Stanford there’s a degree in it, correct, that people ... or not? Eric Johnson, Recode, "Why nonprofits should think more like tech companies," 14 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for degree

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for degree

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

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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 degreed (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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More from Merriam-Webster on degree

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with degree

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for degree

Spanish Central: Translation of degree

Nglish: Translation of degree for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of degree for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about degree

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