Definition of degree in English:


Line breaks: de¦gree
Pronunciation: /dɪˈgriː


  • 1The amount, level, or extent to which something happens or is present: a degree of caution is probably wise [mass noun]: a question of degree
    More example sentences
    • Instead it demands a considerable degree of autonomy and nurtures individualism.
    • More alarmingly, the degree and extent of the complicity involved is shredding the credibility of the Hierarchy.
    • Nevertheless, there seems to be a considerable degree of uncertainty in the present legal proceedings.
    level, stage, point, rung, standard, grade, gradation, mark; amount, extent, measure, magnitude, intensity, strength; proportion, ratio
  • 2A unit of measurement of angles, one ninetieth of a right angle or the angle subtended by one three-hundred-and-sixtieth of the circumference of a circle: set at an angle of 45 degrees (Symbol: °)
    More example sentences
    • Those men also divided the complete circle into 360 degrees by taking the angle of the triangle as their fundamental unit and dividing this into 60 sub-units.
    • Not being a whiz at geometry, I stared at the pattern for quite a while trying to figure out the formula for measuring the degrees of the angles.
    • The computer showed my ball speed was 150 miles per hour, my launch angle 14 degrees and my spin rate 4,400 revolutions per minute.
  • 3A unit in any of various scales of temperature, intensity, or hardness: water boils at 100 degrees Celsius (Symbol: °)
    More example sentences
    • This is the proportion by which the rate of a chemical reaction is raised by an increase in temperature of 10 degrees on the Celsius scale.
    • However, we borrow the basic measurement scale from physics and we measure the photographic colour temperature in degrees Kelvin.
    • The memory signal could not be detected at temperatures above 75 degrees Celsius, where the charges within the domains behave differently.
  • 4A stage in a scale or series, in particular:
  • 4.1 [in combination] Each of a set of grades (usually three) used to classify burns according to their severity. See first-degree, second-degree, third-degree.
  • 4.2 [in combination] A legal grade of crime or offence, especially murder: second-degree murder
    More example sentences
    • English criminal law has two degrees of homicide: murder and manslaughter.
    • There has been no cross examination of the Claimant with a view to establishing what degree of contributory negligence should be attributed to him.
    • He was actually convicted of 2nd degree murder, reduced on appeal to manslaughter.
  • 4.3 [often in combination] A step in direct genealogical descent: second-degree relatives
    More example sentences
    • Everyone on the same level is the same degree of cousin and is in the same generation.
    • Who are relatives within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity?
    • Blood relationship in the direct line (i.e., between father and daughter, grandfather and granddaughter, etc.) invalidates marriage regardless of the degree of relationship.
  • 4.4 Music A position in a musical scale, counting upwards from the tonic or fundamental note: the lowered third degree of the scale
    More example sentences
    • I achieved this not by starting the inverted form on the subdominant degree, but by modifying its tail at measure 47.
    • The reason that this chord is the best is because it contains the leading note (7th degree).
    • A minor, therefore, is related to a major key with its tonic on C, the mediant or third degree of the scale of A minor.
  • 4.5 Mathematics The class into which an equation falls according to the highest power of unknowns or variables present: an equation of the second degree
    More example sentences
    • In particular he worked on Galois theory, ideals and equations of the fifth degree.
    • The degree of the final equation resulting from any number of complete equations in the same number of unknowns, is equal to the product of the degrees of the equations.
    • The first person to claim that equations of degree 5 could not be solved algebraically was Ruffini.
  • 4.6 Grammar Any of the three steps on the scale of comparison of gradable adjectives and adverbs, namely positive, comparative, and superlative.
    More example sentences
    • The comparative and superlative degrees in adjectives are shown in two ways.
    • Here the superlative degree makes sense because we are comparing this year's crop to the crops from all earlier years
    • Special attention is given to three generalizations regarding root suppletion in the comparative degree of adjectives (good-better, bad-worse).
  • 4.7A rank in an order of freemasonry.
    More example sentences
    • The Masonic medal shown in Plate XIII is what is known in the order as a Mark medal for a Freemason with degrees of the Mark Lodge and Royal Arch Masonry.
    • There are 33 degrees of initiation in freemasonry, the 33rd degree being the highest.
  • 4.8 archaic A thing placed like a step in a series; a tier or row.
  • 5An academic rank conferred by a college or university after examination or after completion of a course, or conferred as an honour on a distinguished person: a degree in zoology
    More example sentences
    • He later earned his master's and doctorate degrees from Harvard University.
    • There are several routes a student can take in order to earn a degree in architecture.
    • I moved home with my parents after finishing my degree in order to work and save for graduate school.
  • 6 [mass noun] archaic Social or official rank: persons of unequal degree
    More example sentences
    • People who confirm certain degree of public status often do public talk.
    • He was a lifelong member of St. Peter's Parish and a member of the Knights of Columbus as a third degree knight and fourth degree honorary knight.
    • Spanish and English courtiers were carefully intermingled in order of their degrees on the steps of the throne.
    social class, social status, rank, standing/position in society
    dated station
    archaic estate, condition


by degrees

A little at a time; gradually: rivalries and prejudice were by degrees fading out
More example sentences
  • The yellow fades by degrees into a kind of cream.
  • In the water, the same process takes place as the child gains gradual control of balance and, by degrees, increases movement ability.
  • Changes take place by degrees - there are moments of violence but the security is in the status quo.

to a degree

To some extent: to a degree, it is possible to educate oneself
More example sentences
  • It is possible to adjust to a degree, but it gets frustrating failing to pull of a move at critical moments.
  • He laughed heartily and I watched in awe as his waistline was stretched to a degree that I didn't think possible.
  • Further, I am influenced to a degree, I am bound to say, by this consideration.
to some extent, to a certain extent, up to a point, to a limited extent
dated To a considerable extent: the pressure you were put under must have been frustrating to a degree
More example sentences
  • His analogy is insensitive to a degree that is almost unfathomable.
  • Color, sound and geometry cooperate to a degree rarely seen in animated film, or in film at all for that matter.
  • In many ways Cold War cultural production was ideologically driven to a degree not seen before or since.


Middle English (in the senses 'step', 'tier', 'rank', or 'relative state'): from Old French, based on Latin de- 'down' + gradus 'step or grade'.

More definitions of degree

Definition of degree in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day maelstrom
Pronunciation: ˈmālˌsträm
a powerful whirlpool in the sea