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

This was especially true if the different branches of government had some degree of power over one another. The Economist, "How Viktor Orban hollowed out Hungary’s democracy," 31 Aug. 2019 Both sides have, until now anyway, recognized a degree of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) in that scenario. Sam Kiley, CNN, "Israel is making the case for war, in public, against Lebanon," 30 Aug. 2019 There are no true winners and losers on National Signing Day, only different degrees of potential. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "AL.com All-Access: Alabama, Auburn freshmen will have to grow up in a hurry this year," 29 Aug. 2019 The tactic has achieved varying degrees of success. Los Angeles Times, "Uber, Lyft warn they’ll take the fight over drivers’ status to California voters," 29 Aug. 2019 These and other features add a degree of fairness to an inherently unjust situation. Lindsey Simon, The Conversation, "Why companies file for bankruptcy – and how it protects both debtors and creditors," 29 Aug. 2019 Fortune evaluated companies for Change the World in four categories — measurable social impact, business results, degree of innovation and corporate commitment. San Diego Union-Tribune, "These San Diego tech firms made Fortune magazine’s Change the World list — for the first time," 28 Aug. 2019 This supports the researchers' hypothesis that an awareness of the issues that women face in the sciences provides a degree of protection against the implicit biases that many of us have internalized. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Scientists avoid gender bias when they know they’re being tested for bias," 27 Aug. 2019 This gave it a degree of autonomy in governing itself, guaranteeing the preservation of its cultural and demographic character. Riyaz Wani, Quartz India, "With Kashmir’s autonomy gone, its pro-India political parties have lost all credibility," 27 Aug. 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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Statistics for degree

Last Updated

2 Sep 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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