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degree definition


This page has 23 definitions of degree in English and Middle English. Degree is a noun. Examples of how to use degree in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: dégrée, dégréé, and Degree

English degree definition


From Middle English degre, borrowed from Old French degré (French: degré), itself from Latin gradus, with the prefix de-.



degree (plural degrees)

  1. 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.
  2. (geometry) A unit of measurement of angle equal to 1360 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.
  3. (physics) A unit of measurement of temperature on any of several scales, such as Celsius or Fahrenheit. [from 18th c.]
    212 degrees Fahrenheit is equivalent to 100 degrees Celsius.
    Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
  4. (algebra) The sum of the exponents of a term; the order of a polynomial. [from 18th c.]
    A quadratic polynomial is a polynomial of degree 2.
  5. (algebra, field theory) The dimensionality of a field extension.
    The set of complex numbers constitutes a field extension of degree 2 over the real numbers.
    The Galois field GF ( 125 ) = GF ( 5 3 ) {\displaystyle \operatorname {GF} (125)=\operatorname {GF} (5^{3})} has degree 3 over its subfield GF ( 5 ) . {\displaystyle \operatorname {GF} (5).}
  6. (graph theory) The number of edges that a vertex takes part in; a valency.
  7. (logic) The number of logical connectives in a formula.
  8. (surveying) The curvature of a circular arc, expressed as the angle subtended by a fixed length of arc or chord.
  9. (geography) A unit of measurement of latitude and longitude which together identify a location on the Earth's surface.
  10. (grammar) Any of the stages (like positive, comparative, superlative, elative) in the comparison of an adjective or an adverb.
  11. (obsolete outside heraldry) A step on a set of stairs; the rung of a ladder. [from 13th c.]
  12. An individual step, or stage, in any process or scale of values. [from 13th c.]
  13. A stage of rank or privilege; social standing. [from 13th c.]
  14. (genealogy) A ‘step’ in genealogical descent. [from 14th c.]
    • 2002, Colin Jones, The Great Nation, Penguin, published 2003, page 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.
  15. (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.
  16. The amount that an entity possesses a certain property; relative intensity, extent. [from 14th c.]
    To what degree do the two accounts of the accident concur?
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter I, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      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.
    • March 11 2022, David Hytner, “Chelsea are in crisis but there is no will to leave club on their knees”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Then there are the sums that Abramovich would be permitted to invest within the parameters of the profit and sustainability rules – £105m over a rolling three-year period. That, plainly, has stopped and so, to repeat, it is imperative that the transfer of ownership happens with a degree of speed.

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)).


  • (unit of angle): °, arcdegree
  • (unit of temperature): °
  • (unit of latitude): °
  • (unit of longitude): °

Coordinate terms

Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also

Other terms used in arithmetic operations:

Advanced hyperoperations: tetration, pentation, hexation


Middle English degree definition

Etymology 1



  1. Alternative form of decre

Etymology 2



  1. Alternative form of degre