degree


degree
degree
In Sheridan's The Rivals (1775), we find the assertion Assuredly, sir, your father is wrath to a degree, meaning ‘your father is extremely cross’. The use survived in more florid English into the 20c and was accepted by Fowler (1926) ‘however illogical it seems’. But this meaning is now dated, and in current use to a degree means ‘to some extent’ rather than ‘to a great extent’ and this is what will be understood if the word degree is not qualified:

• W. J. Bryan was to a degree exceptional even in the USA —P. Wiles, 1969.

To avoid any doubt, qualify the word degree in some way, as in to a large degree / to a certain degree / to some degree / to an amazing degree etc. The informal phrase to the nth degree (taken from mathematics) means ‘to a very great degree’ or ‘indefinitely’.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

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  • Degree — may refer to: Contents 1 As a unit of measurement 2 In mathematics 3 In education …   Wikipedia

  • Degree — De*gree , n. [F. degr[ e], OF. degret, fr. LL. degradare. See {Degrade}.] 1. A step, stair, or staircase. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] By ladders, or else by degree. Rom. of R. [1913 Webster] 2. One of a series of progressive steps upward or downward,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • degree — de·gree n 1: a step in a direct line of descent or in the line of ascent to a common ancestor 2 a: a measure of the seriousness of a crime see also fifth degree, first degree, f …   Law dictionary

  • degree — [di grē′] n. [ME degre < OFr degré, degree, step, rank < VL * degradus < degradare: see DEGRADE] 1. any of the successive steps or stages in a process or series 2. a step in the direct line of descent [a cousin in the second degree] 3.… …   English World dictionary

  • degree — early 13c., from O.Fr. degré (12c.) a step (of a stair), pace, degree (of relationship), academic degree; rank, status, position, said to be from V.L. *degradus a step, from L.L. degredare, from L. de down (see DE (Cf. de )) + gradus step (see… …   Etymology dictionary

  • degree — ► NOUN 1) the amount, level, or extent to which something happens or is present. 2) a unit of measurement of angles, equivalent to one ninetieth of a right angle. 3) a unit in a scale of temperature, intensity, hardness, etc. 4) an academic rank… …   English terms dictionary

  • dégréé — dégréé, ée (dé gré é, ée) part. passé. Un vaisseau dégréé …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • degree — of freedom degree of polymerization …   Mechanics glossary

  • degree — [n1] unit of measurement amount, amplitude, caliber, dimension, division, expanse, extent, gauge, gradation, grade, height, intensity, interval, length, limit, line, link, mark, notch, period, plane, point, proportion, quality, quantity, range,… …   New thesaurus

  • degree — noun 1 measurement of angles VERB + DEGREE ▪ rotate, spin, turn ▪ I turned the wheel 90 degrees, PREPOSITION ▪ through … degrees ▪ …   Collocations dictionary