- to subject to the third degree.
- of or relating to the third degree.
Origin of third-degree
- intensive questioning or rough treatment, especially by the police, in order to get information or a confession.
- the degree of master mason in Freemasonry.
Origin of third degree
Examples from the Web for third-degree
Bigamy, or having multiple active marriage licenses, is a third-degree felony in Utah.Was Rick Santorum Right About Polygamy After All?
December 16, 2013
It's a third-degree felony to tape someone without their permission in Florida.Who Captured Mitt Romney's 47% Video Clip?
November 14, 2012
Tarnopolski was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct—an offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison.A Shocking Teen Suicide
Mary M. Chapman
November 13, 2010
As a teenager, a magnesium flare exploded and left 70 percent of his body covered in third-degree burns.Trust Your Irrationality
July 31, 2010
He was electrocuted and left with second- and third-degree burns and a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder.The Recession's Infomercial Boom
April 25, 2009
I had one terrible time in third-degree stuff and have put him away for the night.Dreamy Hollow
Sumner Charles Britton
- informal torture or bullying, esp used to extort confessions or information
Word Origin and History for third-degree
"intense interrogation by police," 1900, probably a reference to Third Degree of master mason in Freemasonry (1772), the conferring of which included an interrogation ceremony. Third degree as a measure of severity of burns (most severe) is attested from 1866, from French (1832); in American English, as a definition of the seriousness of a particular type of crime (the least serious type) it is recorded from 1865.
Idioms and Phrases with third-degree
Intensive questioning or rough treatment used to obtain information or a confession, as in The detectives gave her the third degree, or Jim gave her the third degree when she came home so late. This term comes from freemasonry, where a candidate receives the third or highest degree, that of master mason, upon passing an intensive test. Dating from the 1770s, the phrase was transferred to other kinds of interrogation in the late 1800s.