noun Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French degré, from Vulgar Latin *degradus, from Latin de- + gradus Date: 13th century 1. a step or stage in a process, course, or order of classification <
advanced by degrees
2. a. 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 condition or status of a person 3. a step in a direct line of descent or in the line of ascent to a common ancestor 4. a. obsolete step, stair b. archaic a member of a series arranged in steps 5. a measure of damage to tissue caused by injury or diseasecompare first-degree burn, second-degree burn, third-degree burn 6. a. the extent, measure, or scope of an action, condition, or relation <
different in degree but not in kind
b. relative intensity <
a high degree of stress
c. one of the forms or sets of forms used in the comparison of an adjective or adverb d. a legal measure of guilt or negligence <
found guilty of robbery in the first degree
7. a. a title conferred on students by a college, university, or professional school on completion of a program of study b. a grade of membership attained in a ritualistic order or society c. an academic title conferred to honor distinguished achievement or service d. the formal ceremonies observed in the conferral of such a distinction 8. 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; 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. a. a step, note, or tone of a musical 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 12. 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 and cleared of fractions with respect to the derivative • degreed adjective

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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  • 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 — [di grē′] n. [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.… …   English World 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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  • dégréé — dégréé, ée (dé gré é, ée) part. passé. Un vaisseau dégréé …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

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