graduate

verb
grad·​u·​ate | \ ˈgra-jə-ˌwāt How to pronounce graduate (audio) \
graduated; graduating

Definition of graduate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to receive an academic degree or diploma graduated with honors
2 : to pass from one stage of experience, proficiency, or prestige to a usually higher one graduated to team leader
3 : to change gradually

transitive verb

1a : to grant an academic degree or diploma to
b : to be graduated from joined the navy after graduating high school
2a : to mark with degrees of measurement
b : to divide into grades or intervals
3 : to admit to a particular standing or grade

graduate

noun
grad·​u·​ate | \ ˈgra-jə-wət How to pronounce graduate (audio) , -ˌwāt How to pronounce graduate (audio) , ˈgraj-wət \

Definition of graduate (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a holder of an academic degree or diploma a college graduate
2 : a graduated cup, cylinder, or flask

graduate

adjective
grad·​u·​ate | \ ˈgra-jə-wət How to pronounce graduate (audio) \

Definition of graduate (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : of, relating to, or engaged in studies beyond the first or bachelor's degree graduate school a graduate student
2 : holding an academic degree or diploma

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Other Words from graduate

Verb

graduator \ ˈgra-​jə-​ˌwā-​tər How to pronounce graduate (audio) \ noun

Usage of Graduate

Verb

In the 19th century the transitive sense (1a) was prescribed; the intransitive I graduated from college was condemned. The intransitive prevailed nonetheless, and today it is the sense likely to be prescribed and the newer transitive sense (1b) she graduated high school the one condemned. All three are standard. The intransitive is currently the most common, the new transitive the least common.

Examples of graduate in a Sentence

Verb He graduated from the university last June. They both graduated with honors. She graduated with a degree in history. He joined the navy after graduating from high school. a graduating class of 300 students He joined the navy after graduating high school. The word has graduated from slang to accepted use. My nephew has graduated from baby food to solid food. Adjective He is taking graduate classes at the university.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Mike Wimmer, of Salisbury, is set to graduate from Concord Academy High School on May 28 and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College on May 21, NBC affiliate WCNC reported. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "12-Year-Old N.C. Boy to Graduate from High School and College in Same Week: 'The Time of My Life'," 28 Apr. 2021 The senior was set to graduate in August, and Hodgson said there was discussion among alumni and donors before Ratliff’s death about hiring him to stay in Tuscaloosa. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, "Alabama assistant raises more than $50,000 for family of Luke Ratliff," 6 Apr. 2021 White women are the largest demographic group to attend and graduate from college in the U.S. Stuart Anderson, Forbes, "Research: More International Students, More U.S. Student STEM Degrees," 6 Apr. 2021 Now Ruby is 18 and about to graduate from high school. Heller Mcalpin, The Christian Science Monitor, "Marriages of long standing are tested in quiet, contained ‘Good Company’," 5 Apr. 2021 According to friends and family, Chrzan was preparing to graduate from Mount Zion High School in a few weeks and had already picked up her cap and gown. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, "High school senior killed as friends gathered in backyard, shot at bottles, official says," 2 Apr. 2021 Frayer, a senior, was a four-year starter at Grand Canyon and completed his academic requirements to graduate in April. CBS News, "Grand Canyon basketball player Oscar Frayer killed in car crash three days after playing in NCAA tournament," 26 Mar. 2021 The senior, who is set to graduate in May, lost his starting job to freshman Adama Sanogo and averaged 11.2 minutes a game. Dom Amore, courant.com, "Grading the 2021-22 UConn men’s basketball roster and what it could look like next season," 24 Mar. 2021 Her father was one of only eight Black students to graduate from the city's prestigious Boston Latin School in 1964. Steve Leblanc, Star Tribune, "Boston turns historic page with 1st Black, 1st female mayor," 24 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ng is a Cornell graduate and first-generation Chinese American who started his business in Florida more than 20 years ago. Fortune, "Many Asian Americans still fear harassment and attacks, survey says," 27 Apr. 2021 Erin Glynn, a 2020 Miami University graduate, will be returning to the area to make sure the area's governments and institutions are serving the public. Carl Weiser, The Enquirer, "Report for America corps member to cover Butler, Warren and Clermont counties," 27 Apr. 2021 Kathleen Spangler, a Park Ridge native and Maine South High School graduate, shaped the character of the U.S. Marine in the musical. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Maine East High School musical to feature characters based on community members," 27 Apr. 2021 Mawa Iqbal, a December graduate, returned from Dayton, Ohio. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Josh joust, wing shortage, helping Canada: News from around our 50 states," 26 Apr. 2021 Instruction is virtual during the five-week graduate-level class. Julie Washington, cleveland, "Telemedicine is here, and Ursuline College class teaches health care workers how to do it right; here’s how you can, too," 26 Apr. 2021 Brian Mauer, Harrison Bailey and Virginia Tech graduate transfer Hendon Hooker rotated and looked good at various times. Chris Hays, orlandosentinel.com, "QB Joe Milton’s social media post declares Tennessee as his new home," 26 Apr. 2021 Atlanta area construction company owner Kelvin King, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate who was one of the most prominent Black supporters in Georgia of Trump's 2020 reelection campaign, has declared his candidacy in the Senate race. Paul Steinhauser, Fox News, "Doug Collins, former Georgia GOP congressman, won't run in upcoming elections," 26 Apr. 2021 The 23-year-old moved to the university town of Boulder in January to begin graduate studies in atmospheric and oceanic sciences. Star Tribune, "Young adults' relocations are reshaping political geography," 25 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The campus — which has 42,000 students — is 6,900 beds short of its goal to house half of its undergraduates and a quarter of its graduate students. Emma Talley, San Francisco Chronicle, "Berkeley slams UC Berkeley's long term development plans with fight over housing heating up," 27 Apr. 2021 Now graduate students are pushing back, calling for a rent strike starting Thursday, April 1. Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union-Tribune, "UCSD grad students poised for rent strike as campus housing costs skyrocket," 27 Mar. 2021 Sewanee, with about 1,725 undergraduates and another 75 or so graduate students, was founded by Southern Episcopal bishops and remains affiliated with the Episcopal Church. Washington Post, "‘We are not leaving’: Sewanee’s first Black leader helps propel a racial reckoning at university," 3 Mar. 2021 To improve the research pipeline, the federal government should increase its support for graduate students pursuing advanced STEM studies. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Stepping Up the Tech Fight Against China," 2 Mar. 2021 That’s because Concordia had a contract with online education company Bertelsmann to supply new graduate students to study online through an affiliate called HotChalk. oregonlive, "Concordia: How years of internal strife over gay rights helped turn it into a “$400 million crater”," 26 Feb. 2021 During the lecture, Hawking would mumble a few seemingly incoherent words, one of his graduate students familiar with his speech would translate into understandable English, and then Linde would translate into Russian. Alan Lightman, The Atlantic, "‘It Seems That I Know How the Universe Originated’," 8 Feb. 2021 The campus is 6,900 beds short of its goal to house half of its undergraduates and a quarter of its graduate students, according to UC Berkeley. Sarah Ravani, SFChronicle.com, "Parts of People’s Park to close as UC Berkeley preps for housing of up to 17 stories," 19 Jan. 2021 Like graduate students in English literature, they are adept at close reading, textual analysis, and even what passes for theory. Siva Vaidhyanathan, The New Republic, "Making Sense of the Facebook Menace," 5 Jan. 2021

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for graduate

Verb, Noun, and Adjective

Middle English, from Medieval Latin graduatus, past participle of graduare, from Latin gradus step, degree

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Time Traveler for graduate

Time Traveler

The first known use of graduate was in the 15th century

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Statistics for graduate

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Graduate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/graduate. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for graduate

graduate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of graduate

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to earn a degree or diploma from a school, college, or university
US, of a school, college, or university : to award a degree or diploma to (a student)
US, informal : to earn a degree or diploma from (a school, college, or university)

graduate

noun

English Language Learners Definition of graduate (Entry 2 of 3)

: a person who has earned a degree or diploma from a school, college, or university

graduate

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of graduate (Entry 3 of 3)

US : of or relating to a course of studies taken at a college or university after earning a bachelor's degree or other first degree

graduate

noun
grad·​u·​ate | \ ˈgra-jə-wət How to pronounce graduate (audio) \

Kids Definition of graduate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who has completed the required course of study in a college or school

graduate

verb
grad·​u·​ate | \ ˈgra-jə-ˌwāt How to pronounce graduate (audio) \
graduated; graduating

Kids Definition of graduate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to finish a course of study : become a graduate

graduate

noun
grad·​u·​ate | \ ˈgraj-(ə-)wət How to pronounce graduate (audio) , -ə-ˌwāt How to pronounce graduate (audio) \

Medical Definition of graduate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a graduated cup, cylinder, or flask for measuring

graduate

transitive verb
grad·​u·​ate | \ ˈgraj-ə-ˌwāt How to pronounce graduate (audio) \
graduated; graduating

Medical Definition of graduate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to mark with degrees of measurement

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Comments on graduate

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