degree


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get the third degree

To be interrogated, scrutinized, or questioned intensely or thoroughly by someone. My boyfriend is so controlling that I always get the third degree if I go anywhere or see anyone without him. I got the third degree from the police regarding my whereabouts during the crime.
See also: degree, get, third

give (someone) the third degree

To interrogate, scrutinize, or question someone intensely or thoroughly. My boyfriend is so controlling, always giving me the third degree if I go anywhere or see anyone without him. The police gave me the third degree regarding my whereabouts during the crime.
See also: degree, give, third

to a certain degree

Somewhat; partly; in a limited way or to a limited extent. Your essay would be improved to a certain degree by tidying up your paragraphs, but your topic on the whole has some fundamental problems. Our administration is willing to negotiate to a certain degree, but we aren't ready to make any significant changes to the legislation.
See also: certain, degree

do a 180 degree turn

To make a big change in some area of one's life. If one physically turns 180 degrees, one will then be facing the opposite direction. A: "Can you believe that Sam quit his job at the firm?" B: "No, he really did a 180 degree turn on being a paralegal!"
See also: degree, turn

do a one-eighty

 and turn one hundred and eighty degrees 
1. Lit. to turn around and go in the opposite direction. When I hollered, the dog did a one-eighty and headed back to its own yard.
2. Fig. to radically reverse a decision or opinion. His political philosophy turned one hundred and eighty degrees when he grew a little older.

*third degree

Fig. a long and detailed period of questioning. (*Typically: get ~; give someone ~.) Why is it I get the third degree from you every time I come home late? Poor Sally spent all night at the police station getting the third degree.
See also: degree, third

to the nth degree

to the maximum amount. Jane is a perfectionist and tries to be careful to the nth degree. This scientific instrument is accurate to the nth degree.
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to the nth degree

as much or as far as possible It was a perfect evening - the parking, the dining, the service, everything worked to the nth degree. She pushed dance traditions to the nth degree.
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by degrees

in small stages By degrees the country began to question the decisions their leaders were making.
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to the nth degree

as much or as far as possible What I find is that you can follow instructions to the nth degree and still get it wrong.
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the third degree

  (informal)
a situation in which someone tries to find out information by asking you a lot of questions Where have I been, who have I been with! What's this? The third degree? If I'm even half an hour late she gives me the third degree. I got the third degree from my dad when I got in last night.
See a fifth wheel
See also: degree, third

by degrees

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.
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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.
See also: degree, third

to a degree

Also, to an extent. See to some degree.
See also: degree

to some degree

Also, to a certain degree; to some or a certain extent ; to a degree or an extent . Somewhat, in a way, as in To some degree we'll have to compromise, or To an extent it's a matter of adjusting to the colder climate. The use of degree in these terms, all used in the same way, dates from the first half of the 1700s, and extent from the mid-1800s.
See also: degree

to the nth degree

To the utmost, as in They'd decked out the house to the nth degree. This expression comes from mathematics, where to the nth means "to any required power" ( n standing for any number). It was first recorded in 1852.
See also: degree

third degree

n. a session of questioning, usually by the police. Bart got the third degree, but—being the thoroughbred he is—he was a clam. They gave Spike the third degree, but he refused to say anything.
See also: degree, third

by degrees

Little by little; gradually.
See also: degree

to a degree

To a small extent; in a limited way: doesn't like spicy food, but can eat a little pepper to a degree.
See also: degree
References in classic literature ?
This vast region is situated between the fifteenth and tenth degrees of north latitude; that is to say, that, in order to approach it, the explorer must penetrate fifteen hundred miles into the interior of Africa.
1851, with Overweg, to visit the kingdom of Adamaoua, to the south of the lake, and from there he pushed on as far as the town of Yola, a little below nine degrees north latitude.
He enjoys the unique distinction of possessing to an equal degree of confidence of the black man and the Southern white man.
About noon, or twelve hours after our start upon this unfortunate journey, we had bored to a depth of eighty-four miles, at which point the mercury registered 153 degrees F.
A few more degrees and I felt that I should lose consciousness.
Mynheer van Baerle was a painter, as Mynheer Boxtel was a tulip-grower; he wanted somewhat more sun for his paintings, and he took half a degree from his neighbour's tulips.
And thus it was not for the sake of painted tulips, but for real ones, that Van Baerle took from him half a degree of warmth.
Horner's researches have rendered it in some degree probable that man sufficiently civilized to have manufactured pottery existed in the valley of the Nile thirteen or fourteen thousand years ago; and who will pretend to say how long before these ancient periods, savages, like those of Tierra del Fuego or Australia, who possess a semi-domestic dog, may not have existed in Egypt?
It has often been loosely said that all our races of dogs have been produced by the crossing of a few aboriginal species; but by crossing we can get only forms in some degree intermediate between their parents; and if we account for our several domestic races by this process, we must admit the former existence of the most extreme forms, as the Italian greyhound, bloodhound, bull-dog, in the wild state.
However, when Tom grew up, and gave tokens of that gallantry of temper which greatly recommends men to women, this disinclination which she had discovered to him when a child, by degrees abated, and at last she so evidently demonstrated her affection to him to be much stronger than what she bore her own son, that it was impossible to mistake her any longer.
This view allows for the fact that sensations may reach any degree of faintness--e.
I shall henceforth assume that the existence of images is admitted, and that they are to be distinguished from sensations by their causes, as well as, in a lesser degree, by their effects.
They mistake their carriage and its horizontal lines for a proper measure of the normal plain, and therefore all the objects outside which really are in a horizontal position must show a disproportion of twenty to twenty-five degrees declivity, in regard to the mountain.
It is the earth, which is thirteen times greater than the diminutive moon that we know-- the earth which developes itself at a diameter of two degrees, and which sheds a light thirteen times greater than that qualified by atmospheric strata-- the earth which only disappears at the moment when the sun reappears in its turn
From a natural cause, these constellations shone with a soft luster; they did not twinkle, for there was no atmosphere which, by the intervention of its layers unequally dense and of different degrees of humidity, produces this scintillation.