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 \ 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 With open water almost everywhere, air temperatures in the 40s on Friday and water temperatures hovering a few degrees above freezing, fishermen were very hard to find on the smaller waters. cleveland, "Lake Erie walleye fishing in January? 2020 is off to a great start — Fishing Report for Jan. 4," 4 Jan. 2020 The fire danger increased as temperatures rose to record levels across Australia, surpassing 109 degrees in the capital Canberra and 118 in Penrith, in Sydney's western suburbs. NBC News, "3,000 reservists called to help battle Australian wildfires," 4 Jan. 2020 Saturday’s high will reach about 44 degrees with a 60% chance of showers before 4 p.m. New precipitation should total less than 1/10th of an inch with a south southwest wind of between 9 and 11 mph and gusts of up to 18 mph. oregonlive, "Portland metro Saturday weather: Brace for a chilly, wet, gusty weekend," 4 Jan. 2020 The climate crisis is a hot topic, in part because the global temperature has risen by more than 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit since 1906. Rachel Janfaza, Teen Vogue, "9 Climate Activists of Color You Should Know," 3 Jan. 2020 The weekend is expected to bring high winds and temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 38 Celsius. New York Times, "‘Nowhere Else to Go’: Some Defy Warnings to Flee Australian Fires," 3 Jan. 2020 At 68 degrees, the sea water was not immediately lethal. Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, "Faulty Equipment, Lapsed Training, Repeated Warnings: How a Preventable Disaster Killed Six Marines," 2 Jan. 2020 Of the 184 countries that have published climate goals tied to their participation in the Paris Agreement, only 20 percent have been deemed sufficient to reach the 1.5 degree target, according to a report from the Universal Ecological Fund. Flavie Halais, Wired, "Cities Race to Slow Climate Change—and Improve Life for All," 1 Jan. 2020 New Year’s Day is expected to be partly sunny with a high near 52 degrees and an overnight low of 29. Tom Mcghee, The Denver Post, "Denver weather: New Year’s Eve revelers should prepare for cold, wind," 31 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for degree

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for degree

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Degree.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/degrees. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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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

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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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