1. A stage or degree in a process.
2. A position in a scale of size, quality, or intensity: a poor grade of lumber.
3. An accepted level or standard.
4. A set of persons or things all falling in the same specified limits; a class.
a. A level of academic development in an elementary, middle, or secondary school: learned fractions in the fourth grade.
b. A group of students at such a level: The third grade has recess at 10:30.
c. grades Elementary school.
6. A number, letter, or symbol indicating a student's level of accomplishment: a passing grade in history.
7. A military, naval, or civil service rank.
8. The degree of inclination of a slope, road, or other surface: the steep grade of the mountain road.
9. A slope or gradual inclination, especially of a road or railroad track: slowed the truck when he approached the grade.
10. The level at which the ground surface meets the foundation of a building.
11. A domestic animal produced by crossbreeding one of purebred stock with one of ordinary stock.
12. Linguistics A degree of ablaut.
v. grad·ed, grad·ing, grades
1. To arrange in grades; sort or classify: How is motor oil graded?
a. To determine the quality of (academic work, for example); evaluate: graded the book reports.
b. To give a grade to (a student, for example).
3. To level or smooth to a desired or horizontal gradient: bulldozers graded the road.
4. To gradate.
5. To improve the quality of (livestock) by crossbreeding with purebred stock.
To change or progress gradually: piles of gravel that grade from coarse to fine.
[French, from Latin gradus; see ghredh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.