- the sum of the exponents of the variables in an algebraic term: x3 and 2x2y are terms of degree three.
- the term of highest degree of a given equation or polynomial: The expression 3x2y + y2 + 1 is of degree three.
- the exponent of the derivative of highest order appearing in a given differential equation.
- to a considerable extent; exceedingly.
- to a small extent; somewhat: He is to a degree difficult to get along with.
Origin of degree
British Dictionary definitions for by degrees
- a unit of latitude or longitude, divided into 60 minutes, used to define points on the earth's surface or on the celestial sphere
- a point or line defined by units of latitude and/or longitude
- the highest power or the sum of the powers of any term in a polynomial or by itselfx 4 + x + 3 and xyz ² are of the fourth degree
- the greatest power of the highest order derivative in a differential equation
Word Origin for degree
Word Origin and History for by degrees
early 13c., from Old French degré (12c.) "a step (of a stair), pace, degree (of relationship), academic degree; rank, status, position," said to be from Vulgar Latin *degradus "a step," from Late Latin degredare, from Latin de- "down" (see de-) + gradus "step" (see grade (n.)).
Most modern senses date from Middle English, from notion of a hierarchy of steps. Meaning "a grade of crime" is 1670s; that of "a unit of temperature" is from 1727. The division of the circle into 360 degrees was known in Babylon and Egypt. It is perhaps from the daily motion of the sun through the zodiac in the course of a year.
Medicine definitions for by degrees
Science definitions for by degrees
- A unit for measuring an angle or an arc of a circle. One degree is 1360 of the circumference of a circle.
- This unit used to measure latitude or longitude on the Earth's surface.
Culture definitions for by degrees
In geometry, a unit of measurement of angles, 1/360 of a circle. In physics, a unit of temperature (see Celsius, Fahrenheit (see also Fahrenheit), and Kelvin scale). A degree on the Fahrenheit scale is smaller than a degree on the Celsius or Kelvin scale. Degrees on the Celsius and Kelvin scales are the same size.
Idioms and Phrases with by degrees (1 of 2)
Gradually, by successive steps or stages. For example, By degrees he began to delegate more and more of his duties to his staff. [Mid-1500s] Also see by inches.
Idioms and Phrases with by degrees (2 of 2)
see by degrees; third degree; to some degree; to the nth degree.