\ ˈgrād How to pronounce grade (audio) \

Definition of grade

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a level of study in an elementary, middle, or secondary school that is completed by a student during one year will enter eleventh grade this year students in the second grade
b : the students in the same year of study in elementary, middle, or secondary school The ninth grade is away on a field trip.
c(1) : a position in a scale of ranks or qualities Each grade of steel contains sub-divisions corresponding to steels of different yield stress and impact requirements.— G. D. Taylor
(2) : a stage in a process … we should bear in mind that animals displaying early transitional grades of the structure will seldom continue to exist to the present day, for they will have been supplanted by the very process of perfection through natural selection.— Charles Darwin
d : a degree of severity in illness grade III carcinoma
e : a military or naval rank To be prepared for burial Claggart's body was delivered to certain petty-officers of his mess. And … the Master-at-arms was committed to the sea with every funeral honor properly belonging to his naval grade.— Herman Melville … her father being a country clergyman who had never reached a higher grade than that of an archdeacon …— Anthony Trollope
2a : a mark indicating a degree of accomplishment in school earned good grades in school What was your grade on the math test?
b : a class of things of the same stage or degree
c : a standard of food quality Extra-virgin is the highest grade of olive oil.— Lisa McManus
3a : the degree of inclination of a road or slope … one track went straight up the steep hill, the other one turned square off to the right, with a very slight grade.— Mark Twain also : a sloping road The car … toiled up the long, long grades, past Ash Fork, towards Flagstaff, where the forests and quarries are, under the dry, remote skies. — Rudyard Kipling
b : a datum or reference level especially : ground level
4 : a domestic animal with one parent purebred and the other of inferior breeding
5 [translation of German Stufe] linguistics : any of the variants of a root or affix (distinguished by a particular vowel or the absence of any vowel) in the ablaut series of an Indo-European language
6 grades plural : the elementary school system


graded; grading

Definition of grade (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to assign to a grade or assign a grade to … Mrs. Granger would be the one grading their spelling tests and their reading tests …— Andrew Clements … these students are being graded by the instructor whose methods or information they have reason to question.— Mary Lefkowitz
b : to arrange in grades : sort Each printing plant sends sample copies of its press run to the color lab, where they are graded for quality.— Robert Neuwirth
c : to arrange in a scale or series
2 : to level off to a smooth horizontal or sloping surface The ground should be graded to direct water flow away from the home.Consumer Reports

intransitive verb

1a : to form a series
b : blend Notice that the mud and the sand grade into each other along the sandbar.— Sheldon Judson and Marvin E. Kauffman
2 : to be of a particular grade



Definition of grade (Entry 3 of 4)

: being, involving, or yielding domestic animals of improved but not pure stock grade ewes grade breeding

Definition of -grade (Entry 4 of 4)

: walking plantigrade

Other Words from grade


gradeless \ ˈgrād-​ləs How to pronounce -grade (audio) \ adjective


gradable \ ˈgrā-​də-​bəl How to pronounce -grade (audio) \ adjective

Examples of grade in a Sentence

Noun The fifth grade will perform their annual play this week. a grade of 90 percent or better Her grades are up this semester. an expensive grade of leather Verb Students will be graded on their reading ability. She hasn't finished grading the exams. How would you grade your meal on a scale from one to five? The eggs are graded according to size.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Numerous consumer complaints regarding not receiving test results, poor customer service, and requesting personally identifiable information led the Better Business Bureau of Illinois to give the center a grade of F. William Lee,, 24 Jan. 2022 Slim on published work, secretive about her mysterious background and seeking tenure at the grueling university, she is confronted by a dispute Jasmine files against her due to a failing grade. Tomris Laffly, Variety, 21 Jan. 2022 Having a good driver-monitoring system will be vital to getting a good grade. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 20 Jan. 2022 No wonder shoppers have given them a near-perfect grade with more than 1,200 five-star ratings. Nina Huang,, 20 Jan. 2022 In a Politico/Morning Consult poll this week, 49% of Americans gave the Biden presidency a grade of D (12%) or F (37%). Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, 20 Jan. 2022 No Ohio State defensive player achieved a higher Pro Football Focus grade in 2021 than Harrison’s 82.0. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 19 Jan. 2022 The good news is that 99.3 percent of all restaurant inspections ended with a grade of 80 or higher. Ryan Serpico, San Antonio Express-News, 19 Jan. 2022 But Sopko gave their efforts a failing grade, saying the Afghan air force hadn’t been able to get the qualified personnel needed to set itself on the road to independence. NBC News, 18 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Faculty would grade only what are called summative assessments, which generally means tests. Washington Post, 26 Dec. 2021 When Alaska attorneys were asked to grade McKenna and the other judicial applicants on their suitability for a judgeship, McKenna tied with fellow applicants Laura Hartz and Christina Rankin for the highest rating among the seven applicants. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Dec. 2021 Hollingshead said the developer MK Properties plans to build all six homes at the same time and will grade the lots during construction. Laurinda Joenks, Arkansas Online, 8 Dec. 2021 But Samet, a professor of English at West Point who has previously written about teaching the literature of warfare, refuses to grade on a curve. New York Times, 29 Nov. 2021 The administration plans to release a scorecard in January that would grade its environmental justice achievements. The Washington Post, Arkansas Online, 29 Nov. 2021 The sophomore wide receiver was the only offensive player to grade as a champion against Penn State and was a star once again. Stephen Means, cleveland, 6 Nov. 2021 Some have formally adopted new policies while others are offering training and support for teachers who want to grade differently. Los Angeles Times, 8 Nov. 2021 The demand was so great that Professional Sports Authenticator, which charges at least $150 to grade a card, temporarily refused most submissions. New York Times, 29 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The pro-grade camera system sports three rear-facing cameras including a 3x optical telephoto 8MP camera, while the front camera has a 32 megapixel ultra-wide lens as well. Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, 4 Jan. 2022 Ready to transform your workshop to pro-grade status? Popular Mechanics, 1 Nov. 2021 Pro-grade machines like the Breville Dual Boiler (9/10, WIRED Recommends) have—as the name suggests—two boilers inside. Jess Grey, Wired, 11 Oct. 2021 Don't worry, Japanese hosts say: In U.S. terms, the incoming weather is just a mid-grade tropical storm. Jenna Fryer, Star Tribune, 26 July 2021 Don't worry, Japanese hosts say: In U.S. terms, the incoming weather is just a mid-grade tropical storm. Jenna Fryer, Star Tribune, 26 July 2021 Don't worry, Japanese hosts say: In U.S. terms, the incoming weather is just a mid-grade tropical storm. Jenna Fryer, Star Tribune, 26 July 2021 Don't worry, Japanese hosts say: In U.S. terms, the incoming weather is just a mid-grade tropical storm. Jenna Fryer, Star Tribune, 26 July 2021 Reviewers noted the incredible M1 performance and its efficiency that turned the Air into a Pro-grade device. Chris Smith, BGR, 24 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grade.' 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 grade


1796, in the meaning defined at sense 1c(2)


1659, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1b


1852, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for grade

Noun, Verb, and Adjective

Latin gradus step, degree, from Latin gradi to step, go; akin to Lithuanian gridyti to go, wander

Adjective combining form

French, from Latin -gradus, from gradi

Learn More About grade

Dictionary Entries Near grade




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for grade

Last Updated

26 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Grade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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

More Definitions for grade



English Language Learners Definition of grade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a level of study that is completed by a student during one year
: the students in the same year of study at a school
: a number or letter that indicates how a student performed in a class or on a test



English Language Learners Definition of grade (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give a grade to (a student or a student's work)
: to give a rating to (something)
: to separate (things) into groups or classes according to a particular quality


\ ˈgrād How to pronounce grade (audio) \

Kids Definition of grade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a division of a school course representing a year's work He's in the fourth grade.
2 : the group of pupils in a school grade Fifth grade is holding a bake sale.
3 : a mark or rating especially in school I got a grade of A on the test.
4 : a position in a scale of rank, quality, or order a social grade
5 : a class of things that are of the same rank, quality, or order A … hide was worth from four to ten dollars, depending on the grade and quality.— Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows
6 : the degree of slope (as of a road)


graded; grading

Kids Definition of grade (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to give a grade to as an indication of achievement The teacher graded my report a B.
2 : to give a rating to I'd grade the movie a ten.
3 : to arrange in grades according to some quality The eggs were graded by size.
4 : to make level or evenly sloping grade a highway


\ ˈgrād How to pronounce grade (audio) \

Medical Definition of grade

: a degree of severity of a disease or abnormal condition a grade III carcinoma

More from Merriam-Webster on grade

Nglish: Translation of grade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grade for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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