grade

1 of 4

noun

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
3
a
: 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 sense 1a
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
gradeless adjective

grade

2 of 4

verb

graded; grading

transitive verb

1
a
: 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

1
a
: 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
gradable adjective

grade

3 of 4

adjective

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

-grade

4 of 4

adjective combining form

: walking
plantigrade

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
There’s an interesting Wall Street Journal article that looks at how teachers are increasingly embracing a range of AI tools designed to help them grade essays in subjects such as English and history. Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, Fortune, 2 July 2024 Updates to the school system’s Social Sciences curriculum — a mandatory, two-year social studies course for sixth and seventh grade students — was met with similar criticism during the board’s June 24 meeting. Matt Hubbard, Baltimore Sun, 2 July 2024
Verb
School leaders say the new policy will create a more consistent and fair grading system. Karina Elwood, Washington Post, 1 July 2024 On the grading system used to determine the aggressiveness of prostate cancer known as the Gleason Score, doctors labeled him a 9 out of 10. Emma Kershaw, Peoplemag, 30 June 2024
Adjective
The at-home versions of their kits match the pro-grade options. Tatjana Freund and Nerisha Penrose, ELLE, 31 Mar. 2023 This pro-grade appliance isn’t WiFi compatible. Adria Greenhauff, Better Homes & Gardens, 8 Feb. 2023 See all Example Sentences for grade 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'grade.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

1659, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1b

Adjective

1852, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of grade was in 1659

Dictionary Entries Near grade

Cite this Entry

“Grade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grade. Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

grade

1 of 2 verb
graded; grading
1
: to arrange in grades : sort
grade apples
2
: to make level or evenly sloping
grade a highway
3
: to give a grade to
grade a student's performance
4
: to assign to a grade
5
: to form a series having only slight differences
colors that grade into one another

grade

2 of 2 noun
1
: position in a scale of rank, quality, or order
the grade of sergeant
leather of the highest grade
2
: a stage, step, or degree in a series, order, or ranking
3
: a class of things that are of the same rank, quality, or order
4
a
: a division of the school course representing a year's work
finished the fourth grade
b
: the pupils in a school division
c
plural : the elementary school system
teach in the grades
5
: a mark or rating especially of accomplishment in school
a grade of 90 on a test
6
: a standard of quality
government grades for meat
7
: the degree of slope (as of a road or railroad track)

Medical Definition

grade

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

More from Merriam-Webster on grade

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