, grad·u·ates verb, intransitive
- To be granted an academic degree or diploma: Two thirds of the entering freshmen stayed to graduate.
a. To change gradually or by degrees.
b. To advance to a new level of skill, achievement, or activity: After a summer of diving instruction, they had all graduated to back flips.
a. To grant an academic degree or diploma to: The teachers hope to graduate her this spring.
b. Usage Problem To receive an academic degree from.
- To arrange or divide into categories, steps, or grades.
- To divide into marked intervals, especially for use in measurement.
- One who has received an academic degree or diploma.
- A graduated container, such as a cylinder or beaker.
- Possessing an academic degree or diploma.
- Of, intended for, or relating to studies beyond a bachelor's degree: graduate courses.
Origin: Middle English graduaten, to confer a degree
Origin: , from Medieval Latin graduārī, graduāt-, to take a degree
Origin: , from Latin gradus, step; see grade
Related Forms:Usage Note:
The verb graduate
has denoted the action of conferring an academic degree or diploma since at least 1421. Accordingly, the action of receiving a degree should be expressed in the passive, as in She was graduated from Yale in 1998.
This use is still current, if old-fashioned, and is acceptable to 78 percent of the Usage Panel. In general usage, however, it has largely yielded to the much more recent active pattern (first attested in 1807): She graduated from Yale in 1998.
Eighty-nine percent of the Panel accepts this use. It has the advantage of ascribing the accomplishment to the student, rather than to the institution, which is usually appropriate in discussions of individual students. When the institution's responsibility is emphasized, however, the older pattern may still be recommended. A sentence such as The university graduated more computer science majors in 1997 than in the entire previous decade
stresses the university's accomplishment, say, of its computer science program. On the other hand, the sentence More computer science majors graduated in 1997 than in the entire previous decade
implies that the class of 1997 was in some way a remarkable group. • The Usage Panel feels quite differently about the use of graduate
to mean “to receive a degree from,” as in She graduated Yale in 1998.
Seventy-seven percent object to this usage.