De*gree" (?), *n.* [F.
*degré*, OF. *degret*, fr. LL. *degradare*. See
__Degrade__.] **1.** A step, stair, or
staircase. [Obs.]

By ladders, or else by *degree*.

*Rom. of R.***2.** One of a series of progressive steps
upward or downward, in quality, rank, acquirement, and the like; a
stage in progression; grade; gradation; as, *degrees* of vice
and virtue; to advance by slow *degrees*; *degree* of
comparison.

**3.** The point or step of progression to which
a person has arrived; rank or station in life; position. "A
dame of high *degree*." *Dryden.* "A knight is your
*degree*." *Shak.* "Lord or lady of high *degree*."
*Lowell.*

**4.** Measure of advancement; quality; extent;
as, tastes differ in kind as well as in *degree*.

The *degree* of excellence which proclaims
genius, is different in different times and different
places.

*Sir. J. Reynolds.***5.** Grade or rank to which scholars are
admitted by a college or university, in recognition of their
attainments; as, the *degree* of bachelor of arts, master,
doctor, etc.

&fist; In the United States diplomas are usually given as the
evidence of a degree conferred. In the humanities the first degree is
that of *bachelor of arts* (B. A. or A. B.); the second that of
*master of arts* (M. A. or A. M.). The degree of *bachelor*
(*of arts*, *science*, *divinity*, *law*, etc.)
is conferred upon those who complete a prescribed course of
undergraduate study. The first degree in medicine is that of
*doctor of medicine* (M. D.). The degrees of *master* and
*doctor* are sometimes conferred, in course, upon those who have
completed certain prescribed postgraduate studies, as *doctor of
philosophy* (Ph. D.); but more frequently the degree of
*doctor* is conferred as a complimentary recognition of eminent
services in science or letters, or for public services or distinction
(as *doctor of laws* (LL. D.) or *doctor of divinity* (D.
D.), when they are called *honorary degrees*.

The youth attained his bachelor's *degree*, and
left the university.

*Macaulay.***6.** *(Genealogy)* A certain distance or
remove in the line of descent, determining the proximity of blood;
one remove in the chain of relationship; as, a relation in the third
or fourth *degree*.

In the 11th century an opinion began to gain ground in
Italy, that third cousins might marry, being in the seventh
*degree* according to the civil law.

*Hallam.***7.** *(Arith.)* Three figures taken
together in numeration; thus, 140 is one *degree*, 222,140 two
*degrees*.

**8.** *(Algebra)* State as indicated by sum
of exponents; more particularly, the degree of a term is indicated by
the sum of the exponents of its literal factors; thus,
*a*^{2}b^{3}c is a term of the sixth
*degree*. The *degree* of a power, or radical, is denoted
by its index, that of an equation by the greatest sum of the
exponents of the unknown quantities in any term; thus,
*ax*^{4} + bx^{2} = c, and
*mx*^{2}y^{2} + nyx = p, are both equations of
the fourth *degree*.

**9.** *(Trig.)* A 360th part of the
circumference of a circle, which part is taken as the principal unit
of measure for arcs and angles. The degree is divided into 60 minutes
and the minute into 60 seconds.

**10.** A division, space, or interval, marked on
a mathematical or other instrument, as on a thermometer.
**11.** *(Mus.)* A line or space of the
staff.

&fist; The short lines and their spaces are *added
degrees*.

**Accumulation of degrees**.

*(Eng. Univ.)*See under __Accumulation__. --

**By
degrees**,

step by step; by little and little; by
moderate advances. "I'll leave it

*by degrees*."

*Shak.* --

**Degree of a****curve or
surface***(Geom.)*,

the number which expresses the
degree of the equation of the curve or surface in rectilinear
coördinates. A straight line will, in general, meet the curve or
surface in a number of points equal to the degree of the curve or
surface and no more. --

**Degree of latitude***(Geog.)*,

on the earth, the distance on a meridian between
two parallels of latitude whose latitudes differ from each other by
one degree. This distance is not the same on different parts of a
meridian, on account of the flattened figure of the earth, being
68.702 statute miles at the equator, and 69.396 at the poles. --

**Degree of longitude**,

the distance on a parallel
of latitude between two meridians that make an angle of one degree
with each other at the poles -- a distance which varies as the cosine
of the latitude, being at the equator 69.16 statute miles. --

**To a degree**,

to an extreme; exceedingly; as,
mendacious *to a degree*.It has been said that Scotsmen . . . are . . . grave
*to a degree* on occasions when races more favored by nature are
gladsome to excess.

*Prof. Wilson.*