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A.Word.A.Day--third degree

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

This week's theme: ordinal words.

third degree (thurd di-GREE) noun

Intensive questioning using rough treatment.

adjective

Pertaining to the third degree.

verb

To subject to such treatment.

[There are many folk etymologies regarding possible origins of this term but lexicographers are not certain. The more popular of the stories suggests it came from the third degree in freemasonry that was the most difficult to achieve. One aspiring to that rank was supposed to undergo intense questioning and grilling.]

See more usage examples of third degree in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

-Anu Garg (garg wordsmith.org)

"[John Dingell] loved nothing more than to call witnesses before his committee and give them the third degree." Thomas Bray; Do Elephants Have Ideas?; The New York Sun; Oct 25, 2006.

X-Bonus

Many a man thinks he is buying pleasure, when he is really selling himself to it. -Benjamin Franklin, statesman, author, and inventor (1706-1790)

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