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Measuring by Degrees

Date: 06/16/2002 at 14:16:21
From: Kathy Milburn
Subject: Angles, degrees and temperature

Why is it that angles and temperature are both measured in 
degrees?


Date: 06/17/2002 at 12:46:41
From: Doctor Peterson
Subject: Re: Angles, degrees and temperature

Hi, Kathy.

You can get most of the answer by looking in a good dictionary. 

"Degree" comes from Latin "de" (down) + "gradus" (step). "Degrade", 
"graduation" and "gradual" ("by degrees") come from the same root. 
So any steps, or units, by which some change can be measured can be 
called a degree. That includes degrees of temperature, angle, 
complexity (of a polynomial), or even education (college degrees). 
It's really a very general word, and was even more so in earlier 
times.

If you have any further questions, feel free to write back.

- Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum
  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ 
Associated Topics:
Elementary Definitions
Elementary Terms & Units of Measurement
Middle School Definitions
Middle School Terms/Units of Measurement

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