• Degree


    • enPR: dÄ­grÄ“', IPA: /dɪˈɡɹiː/


    From Old French degré (French: degré).

    Full definition of degree



    (plural degrees)
    1. (obsolete except heraldry) A step on a set of stairs; the rung of a ladder. from 13th c.
    2. An individual step, or stage, in any process or scale of values. from 13th c.
    3. A stage of rank or privilege; social standing. from 13th c.
      • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Luke XX:Master, we knowe that thou sayest, and teachest ryght, nether considerest thou eny mannes degre, but techest the waye of god truely.
    4. (genealogy) A ‘step’ in genealogical descent. from 14th c.
      • 2002, Colin Jones, The Great Nation, Penguin 2003, p. 140:Louis created the École militaire in Paris in 1751, in which 500 scholarships were designated for noblemen able to prove four degrees of noble status.
    5. (now rare) One's relative state or experience; way, manner. from 14th c.
      • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick:If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
    6. The amount that an entity possesses a certain property; relative intensity, extent. from 14th c.
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity Chapter 1, In the old days, to my commonplace and unobserving mind, he gave no evidences of genius whatsoever. He never read me any of his manuscripts, , and therefore my lack of detection of his promise may in some degree be pardoned.
    7. To what degree do the two accounts of the accident concur?
    8. A stage of proficiency or qualification in a course of study, now especially an award bestowed by a university or, in some countries, a college, as a certification of academic achievement. (In the United States, can include secondary schools.) from 14th c.
      She has two bachelor's degrees and is studying towards a master's degree.
    9. (geometry) A unit of measurement of angle equal to 1/360 of a circle's circumference. from 14th c.
      A right angle is a ninety degree angle.
      Most humans have a field of vision of almost 180 degrees.
    10. (physics) A unit of measurement of temperature on any of several scales, such as Celsius or Fahrenheit. from 18th c.
      90 degrees Fahrenheit is equivalent to 32.2 degrees Celsius.
      Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
    11. (mathematics) The sum of the exponents of a term; the order of a polynomial. from 18th c.
    12. (graph theory) The number of edges that a vertex takes part in; a valency.
    13. (surveying) The curvature of a circular arc, expressed as the angle subtended by a fixed length of arc or chord.


    • (unit of angle) °
    • (unit of temperature) °

    Coordinate terms

    Usage notes

    A person who is engaged in a course of study leading to the earning of a degree can be described (in the present progressive tense) as "doing a degree" in British English, and as "getting a degree" in American English. For example, in American English, "She is currently getting her master's degree at State University." In British English, "I am still confused about when to use 'an' instead of 'a'. Is it an hour or a hour, and if someone is doing a master's degree in arts, is it an MA or a MA?" (Ask Oxford.Com - Ask the Experts - Frequently Asked Questions (Grammar)).

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