Definition of graduate in English:

Share this entry



Pronunciation: /ˈɡraj(ə)wət/
1A person who has successfully completed a course of study or training, especially a person who has been awarded an undergraduate academic degree.
Example sentences
  • Training courses usually take graduates or school leavers any time after they've got their qualification.
  • He has also won the three major teaching awards in his college and both the graduate and undergraduate teaching awards in his department.
  • And of the nine with a law degree, four were graduates of Harvard Law School.
1.1North American A person who has received a high school diploma: she is 19, a graduate of Lincoln High
More example sentences
  • In many cases, elementary-school teachers were simply graduates of the local high school.
  • Half of high school graduates receive an advanced education.
  • Many high school graduates want to receive a university education abroad, but few people can afford this.
2A graduated cup, tube, flask, or measuring glass, used especially by chemists and pharmacists.
Example sentences
  • Rinse flask with small portions of non-saturated acetonitrile and transfer rinsings to the graduate with disposable pipette until 5 ml is collected.
  • Uncap the flask, and use a pipette to transfer excess liquid above the 1.0 L mark to a 25-mL graduate.


Pronunciation: /ˈɡrajəˌwāt/
1 [no object] Successfully complete an academic degree, course of training, or high school: I graduated from West Point in 1965
More example sentences
  • Between 1873 and 1933 only six students graduated from high school.
  • Only five out of 12 of Gina's siblings graduated from high school.
  • The report recommended that states require students to take a minimum number of courses in core academic subjects in order to graduate from high school.
get one's diploma, get one's degree, pass one's exams, complete/finish one's studies
1.1 [with object] US informal Receive an academic degree from: she graduated college in 1970
More example sentences
  • She graduated college with a degree in Art History but didn't work a day since receiving her diploma.
  • As a result, she graduated college with a degree in engineering even though she couldn't draw a straight line.
  • At 23, she was employed by Newsweek-Paris shortly after graduating college with a degree in journalism.
1.2 [with object] North American Confer a degree or other academic qualification on: the school graduated more than one hundred arts majors in its first year
More example sentences
  • Murgel attended Louisiana State University and was graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering.
  • Without this additional dimension in the analysis of students it is difficult to explain efforts by universities to graduate students faster.
  • Most of those jobs have gone to India and China, whose universities graduate hundreds of thousands of engineers each year.
1.3 (graduate to) Move up to (a more advanced level or position): he started with motorbikes but now he’s graduated to his first car
More example sentences
  • Students will start with the basic moves before graduating to more difficult stamina-building sequences.
  • Encouraged by her parents to follow her passions, Julie took dance classes from the age of two, moving on to a drama group and graduating to Scottish Youth Theatre.
  • Initially working in cartoons, he graduated to sitcoms, before moving into drama.
progress, advance, move up
2 [with object] Arrange in a series or according to a scale: (as adjective graduated) a graduated tax
More example sentences
  • The inheritance tax is graduated into three classes according to the ‘nearness’ of family connection.
  • Unlike the income tax, which is graduated, the payroll tax is calculated as a flat percentage of income.
  • A radical ministry which gained office with socialist support in 1895 and tried to introduce graduated income and inheritance taxes was brought down by the Senate.
2.1Mark out (an instrument or container) in degrees or other proportionate divisions: the stem was graduated with marks for each hour [as adjective]: graduated cylinders
More example sentences
  • To assess flight ability, a tube containing a fly was placed above a small hole in a plastic top covering a 1-liter graduated cylinder.
  • Flies were dropped into a 500-ml graduated cylinder whose inside wall was covered with paraffin oil.
  • The standing ladder is graduated with eight horizontal lines marked from I to 8.
calibrate, mark off, measure out, grade
3 [with object] Change (something, typically color or shade) gradually or step by step: the color is graduated from the middle of the frame to the top
More example sentences
  • She flicked her wrist like a magician and produced a little fan of plastic strips, in graduated colours like paint samples.
  • Coloured lenses are trendy, especially if they have a graduated colour scheme.
  • My sister, on the other hand, literally bought her living room from the catalog in graduated shades of tan.


Pronunciation: /ˈɡraj(ə)wət/
1Relating to graduate school education: the graduate faculty
1.1Having graduated from a school or academic program: a graduate electrical engineer


The traditional use is “be graduated from”: she will be graduated from medical school in June. However, it is now more common to say “graduate from”: she will graduate from medical school in June. The use of graduate as a transitive verb, as in he graduated high school last week, is increasingly common, especially in speech, but is considered incorrect by most traditionalists.


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin graduat- 'graduated', from graduare 'take a degree', from Latin gradus 'degree, step'.

Words that rhyme with graduate


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: grad·u·ate

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.