1 a stage in an ascending or descending scale, series, or process.
2 a stage in intensity or amount (to a high degree; in some degree).
3 relative condition (each is good in its degree).
4 Math. a 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.
Symb.: ° (as in 45°).
5 Physics a unit in a scale of temperature, hardness, etc.
Abbr.: deg. (or omitted in the Kelvin scale of temperature).
6 Med. an extent of burns on a scale characterized by the destruction of the skin.
7 an 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.
8 a grade of crime or criminality (murder in the first degree).
9 a step in direct genealogical descent.
10 social or official rank.
11 Math. the highest power of unknowns or variables in an equation etc. (equation of the third degree).
12 a masonic rank.
13 a thing placed like a step in a series; a tier or row.
14 Mus. the classification of a note by its position in the scale.
Phrases and idioms:
by degrees a little at a time; gradually. degree of freedom 1 Physics the independent direction in which motion can occur.
2 Chem. the number of independent factors required to specify a system at equilibrium.
3 Statistics the number of independent values or quantities which can be assigned to a statistical distribution. degrees of comparison see COMPARISON. forbidden (or prohibited) degrees a number of degrees of descent too few to allow of marriage between two related persons. to a degree colloq. considerably.
degreeless adj.
Etymology: ME f. OF degreacute f. Rmc (as DE-, L gradus step)

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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