degree [di grē′]
[ME degre < OFr degré, degree, step, rank < VL * degradus < degradare: see DEGRADE]
1. any of the successive steps or stages in a process or series
2. a step in the direct line of descent [a cousin in the second degree]
3. social or official rank, position, or class [a man of low degree]
4. relative condition; manner, respect, or relation [each contributing to victory in his degree]
5. extent, amount, or relative intensity [hungry to a slight degree, burns of the third degree]
6. Algebra rank as determined by the sum of a term's exponents [the terms a3c2 and x5 are of the fifth degree]
7. Educ. a rank given by a college or university to a student who has completed a required course of study, or to a distinguished person as an honor
8. Gram. a grade of comparison of adjectives and adverbs [the positive degree isgood,the comparative degree isbetter,and the superlative degree isbest]
9. Law the seriousness of a crime [murder in the first degree]
10. Math. Astron. Geog. etc. a unit of measure for angles or arcs, one 360th part of the circumference of a circle: the measure of an angle is the number of degrees between its sides considered as radii of a circle: symbol, ° [a right angle has 90 degrees]
11. Music the relative position of a note within a given scale [B is the second degree in the scale of A]
12. Physics
a) a unit of measure on a scale, as for temperature
b) a line marking a degree, as on a thermometer
by degrees
step by step; gradually
to a degree
1. Chiefly Brit. to a great extent
2. somewhat

English World dictionary. . 2014.


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  • Degree — may refer to: Contents 1 As a unit of measurement 2 In mathematics 3 In education …   Wikipedia

  • Degree — De*gree , n. [F. degr[ e], OF. degret, fr. LL. degradare. See {Degrade}.] 1. A step, stair, or staircase. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] By ladders, or else by degree. Rom. of R. [1913 Webster] 2. One of a series of progressive steps upward or downward,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • degree — de·gree n 1: a step in a direct line of descent or in the line of ascent to a common ancestor 2 a: a measure of the seriousness of a crime see also fifth degree, first degree, f …   Law dictionary

  • degree — In Sheridan s The Rivals (1775), we find the assertion Assuredly, sir, your father is wrath to a degree, meaning ‘your father is extremely cross’. The use survived in more florid English into the 20c and was accepted by Fowler (1926) ‘however… …   Modern English usage

  • degree — early 13c., from O.Fr. degré (12c.) a step (of a stair), pace, degree (of relationship), academic degree; rank, status, position, said to be from V.L. *degradus a step, from L.L. degredare, from L. de down (see DE (Cf. de )) + gradus step (see… …   Etymology dictionary

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  • degree — noun 1 measurement of angles VERB + DEGREE ▪ rotate, spin, turn ▪ I turned the wheel 90 degrees, PREPOSITION ▪ through … degrees ▪ …   Collocations dictionary