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Graduate Definition and Meaning

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on March 6, 2024
Graduate means to complete a course of study at a school, college, or university, often receiving a diploma or degree. e.g., She will graduate from college this spring.

Graduate Definitions

To officially complete an academic program and receive a degree.
He graduated with honors in engineering.
The act of a school or university officially awarding academic degrees.
The university will graduate 500 students this semester.
To transition from one stage, level, or phase to another in a process.
The trainee pilots will graduate to solo flights.
To finish the required coursework and requirements of an educational institution.
Many students graduate from high school at 18.
To move up from one level of education to another.
After kindergarten, children graduate to the first grade.
To signify the passage from one stage or phase to another.
The ceremony will graduate new recruits into full members.
To finish a particular stage in a process or system.
The software will graduate from beta to full release soon.
To be awarded a diploma upon completion of a course.
She will graduate from the vocational program next month.
To finish formal training or education in a specific field.
He graduated from the police academy last year.
To move up to a higher rank or position.
After years of service, she graduated to the position of manager.
Of or relating to studies beyond a bachelor's degree;
Graduate courses
To be granted an academic degree or diploma
Most of the entering freshmen stayed to graduate.
To change gradually or by degrees
"The most weighty of all the arguments against treating the races of man as distinct species, is that they graduate into each other" (Charles Darwin).
To advance to a new level of skill, achievement, or activity
After a month of diving instruction, they all graduated to back flips.
To grant an academic degree or diploma to
The school has graduated many gifted chemists.
Usage Problem To receive an academic degree from
How many chemists graduated the Institute last year?.
To arrange or divide into categories, steps, or grades
Graduate an income tax.
To divide into marked intervals, especially for use in measurement
Graduate a thermometer.
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.
A person who is recognized by a university as having completed the requirements of a degree studied at the institution.
If the government wants graduates to stay in the country they should offer more incentives.
A person who is recognized by a high school as having completed the requirements of a course of study at the school.
(Philippines) A person who is recognized as having completed any level of education.
A graduated (marked) cup or other container, thus fit for measuring.
Graduated, arranged by degrees
Holding an academic degree
Relating to an academic degree
To be recognized by a school or university as having completed the requirements of a degree studied at the institution.
The man graduated in 1967.
Trisha graduated from college.
To be certified as having earned a degree from; to graduate from (an institution).
Trisha graduated college.
(transitive) To certify (a student) as having earned a degree
Indiana University graduated the student.
The college graduated him as soon as he was no longer eligible to play under NCAA rules.
(transitive) To mark (something) with degrees; to divide into regular steps or intervals, as the scale of a thermometer, a scheme of punishment or rewards, etc.
(intransitive) To change gradually.
Sandstone which graduates into gneiss; carnelian sometimes graduates into quartz
To prepare gradually; to arrange, temper, or modify by degrees or to a certain degree; to determine the degrees of.
To graduate the heat of an oven
(chemistry) To bring to a certain degree of consistency, by evaporation, as a fluid.
To taper, as the tail of certain birds.
(Japanese entertainment) Of an idol: to exit a group; or of a virtual YouTuber, to leave a management agency; usually accompanied with "graduation ceremony" send-offs, increased focus on the leaving member, and the like.
To mark with degrees; to divide into regular steps, grades, or intervals, as the scale of a thermometer, a scheme of punishment or rewards, etc.
To admit or elevate to a certain grade or degree; esp., in a college or university, to admit, at the close of the course, to an honorable standing defined by a diploma; as, he was graduated at Yale College.
To prepare gradually; to arrange, temper, or modify by degrees or to a certain degree; to determine the degrees of; as, to graduate the heat of an oven.
Dyers advance and graduate their colors with salts.
To bring to a certain degree of consistency, by evaporation, as a fluid.
To pass by degrees; to change gradually; to shade off; as, sandstone which graduates into gneiss; carnelian sometimes graduates into quartz.
To taper, as the tail of certain birds.
To take a degree in a college or university; to become a graduate; to receive a diploma.
He graduated at Oxford.
He was brought to their bar and asked where he had graduated.
One who has received an academical or professional degree; one who has completed the prescribed course of study in any school or institution of learning.
A graduated cup, tube, flask, or cylinder; a glass measuring container used by apothecaries and chemists. See under Graduated.
Arranged by successive steps or degrees; graduated.
Beginning with the genus, passing through all the graduateand subordinate stages.
A person who has received a degree from a school (high school or college or university)
A measuring instrument for measuring fluid volume; a glass container (cup or cylinder or flask) whose sides are marked with or divided into amounts
Receive an academic degree upon completion of one's studies;
She graduated in 1990
Confer an academic degree upon;
This school graduates 2,000 students each year
Make fine adjustments or divide into marked intervals for optimal measuring;
Calibrate an instrument
Graduate a cylinder

Graduate Snonyms

Degree holder

Someone who has been awarded an academic degree.
Degree holders often have better job prospects.


A person who has enrolled in a college or university.
The university welcomes all new matriculants this fall.


A student, typically having the highest academic achievements of the class, who delivers the valedictory at a graduation ceremony.
The valedictorian's speech was inspiring.


A person who is graduating or has recently graduated from a school or college.
Commencers are advised to gather an hour before the ceremony.


A graduate or former student of a specific school, college, or university.
She is an alumnus of our university.

Diploma recipient

A person who has received a diploma, especially from a school or university.
The ceremony honored diploma recipients from various faculties.


A specialist in a particular branch of study, especially the humanities; a distinguished academic.
As a graduate, he became a leading scholar in his field.


A college or university student.
Collegians from across the state participated in the conference.


A student who has completed a degree and is pursuing further education.
She is now a postgraduate studying for her PhD.


A person who teaches or does research at a university.
Academics gathered to discuss the latest findings.

Graduate Idioms & Phrases

Graduate from the school of hard knocks

To gain experience and wisdom through hard life experiences rather than formal education.
He didn't have a formal degree, but he graduated from the school of hard knocks.

Graduate with honors

To complete a degree with distinction due to high academic achievement.
He was proud to graduate with honors in his field.

Graduate with flying colors

To complete a course or level of education with very high marks or distinction.
She graduated with flying colors, topping her class.

Graduate to bigger things

To move on to more important or significant tasks or positions after starting with smaller ones.
After mastering the basics, he graduated to bigger things in the company.

Graduate from the ranks

To rise from a lower position or status to a higher one through hard work or achievement.
She started as an intern but quickly graduated from the ranks to become a manager.

Graduate cum laude

To graduate with honors, indicating notable academic achievement.
He was proud to graduate cum laude despite the challenges he faced during his studies.

Graduate from zero to hero

To rise from a position of no importance or achievement to one of significant success or heroism.
His invention helped him graduate from zero to hero in the tech community.

Graduate magna cum laude

To graduate with great honors, a step below the highest honors, indicating very high academic achievement.
She was thrilled to graduate magna cum laude, knowing her hard work had paid off.

Graduate summa cum laude

To graduate with the highest honors, indicating exceptional academic achievement.
Her goal was to graduate summa cum laude from her university.

Graduate beyond one's peers

To advance or progress further than those of similar age or status.
With her innovative research, she quickly graduated beyond her peers.

Graduate at the top of one's class

To finish a course of study with the highest ranking among one's peers.
She aspired to graduate at the top of her class in medical school.

Graduate from spectator to participant

To move from watching or observing to actively taking part in an activity or event.
She decided it was time to graduate from spectator to participant in the community theater.

Graduate to the next level

To advance to a higher level or stage in a process or activity.
After mastering the basics, he graduated to the next level in his piano lessons.

Graduate from theory to practice

To move from understanding concepts theoretically to applying them in practical situations.
After years of study, it was time to graduate from theory to practice.

Graduate by the skin of one's teeth

To barely manage to complete or pass a course of study.
He joked that he'd graduate by the skin of his teeth, given his last-minute studying.

Graduate to adulthood

To transition from being considered a youth or teenager to an adult.
Turning eighteen and starting college felt like he was finally graduating to adulthood.

Graduate from small fry to big fish

To go from being unimportant or insignificant to becoming important or influential.
In his new job, he felt like he had graduated from small fry to big fish.

Graduate from novice to expert

To progress from being a beginner to becoming highly skilled or knowledgeable in a particular area.
Through years of practice, she graduated from novice to expert in martial arts.

Graduate into the real world

To transition from the protected environment of school or college into the broader society and workforce.
After graduation, he was ready to graduate into the real world.

Graduate from apprentice to master

To complete an apprenticeship and become recognized as a skilled and qualified professional.
After years of hard work, he was proud to graduate from apprentice to master carpenter.

Graduate Example Sentences

She's excited to graduate and start her career.
The students are preparing for their graduate ceremony.
After I graduate, I plan to travel for a year.
The program allows students to graduate early if they meet all requirements.
To graduate, she had to complete a final project.
They're holding a special event for the graduate students.
The school will graduate over 200 students this term.
My brother will graduate from medical school next year.
He aimed to graduate at the top of his class.
Her parents flew in to watch her graduate.
He's the first in his family to graduate from college.
The institution graduates thousands of students each year.
Before you can graduate, you must pass all your exams.
She will graduate with a degree in environmental science.

Common Curiosities

How many syllables are in graduate?

Graduate has three syllables.

What is a stressed syllable in graduate?

The stressed syllable in "graduate" is the first syllable: grad.

Why is it called graduate?

"Graduate" originates from the Latin "gradus," meaning "step" or "degree," reflecting the idea of moving up or advancing in steps, such as in education.

What is the second form of graduate?

The second form of "graduate" is "graduated."

How is graduate used in a sentence?

Graduate is often used to describe the completion of an academic degree or level, e.g., He will graduate next month.

What is the first form of graduate?

The first form of "graduate" is "graduate."

What is the third form of graduate?

The third form of "graduate" is also "graduated."

How do we divide graduate into syllables?

Graduate is divided into syllables as grad-u-ate.

What is the root word of graduate?

The root word of "graduate" is the Latin "gradus," meaning "step" or "degree."

What is another term for graduate?

Another term for "graduate" as a verb is "complete" or "finish." As a noun, it can be "alumnus" or "alumna."

What is the verb form of graduate?

Graduate itself is a verb. Its forms include "graduates," "graduated," and "graduating."

What is the pronunciation of graduate?

Graduate is pronounced as /ˈɡrædʒ.u.ət/ when used as a verb, and /ˈɡrædʒ.u.ɪt/ as a noun.

Is graduate an adverb?

No, "graduate" is not an adverb.

Is graduate a collective noun?

No, "graduate" is not a collective noun.

Is the word “graduate” a Direct object or an Indirect object?

In sentences like "She will graduate from the university," "graduate" is the verb, and "from the university" acts as a prepositional phrase modifying the verb. "Graduate" does not serve as a direct or indirect object.

Which determiner is used with graduate?

Determiners such as "the," "a," and possessive pronouns like "my" or "our" can be used with "graduate" when it functions as a noun, e.g., "The graduate celebrated her achievement."

What is the singular form of graduate?

As a verb, "graduate" doesn't change form for singular or plural. As a noun, the singular form is "graduate."

What is the plural form of graduate?

The plural form of "graduate" as a noun is "graduates."

What is the opposite of graduate?

The opposite of "graduate" could be "enroll" or "begin," referring to the start rather than the completion of an academic program.

What part of speech is graduate?

Graduate can be a verb, as in to complete an academic degree, or a noun, as in a person who has completed a degree.

Is graduate a negative or positive word?

"Graduate" is generally considered a positive word, associated with achievement and completion.

Is graduate a countable noun?

Yes, as a noun, "graduate" is countable. You can have one graduate or many graduates.

Is the graduate term a metaphor?

The term "graduate" can be used metaphorically, especially in phrases like "graduate to bigger things," meaning to move on to more significant tasks or roles.

Is the word graduate imperative?

"Graduate" can be used in the imperative mood in instructions or commands, e.g., "Graduate on time."

Is the word graduate a Gerund?

The gerund form of "graduate" is "graduating," which can be used as a noun, e.g., "Graduating from college is a significant milestone."

Which vowel is used before graduate?

Articles like "a" or "the" can precede "graduate" when it is used as a noun, depending on the sentence structure.

Which preposition is used with graduate?

Prepositions like "from" are commonly used with "graduate," e.g., "graduate from a university."

Which conjunction is used with graduate?

Conjunctions such as "and" or "but" can be used with "graduate" in sentences to connect ideas or clauses.

Is graduate a noun or adjective?

"Graduate" can be a noun (referring to a person who has completed a degree) or a verb (the act of completing a degree). It is not typically used as an adjective, but "graduate level" can describe courses or studies for students who have completed a bachelor's degree.

Is graduate an abstract noun?

As a noun, "graduate" refers to a person who has completed a course of study, so it is not abstract.

Is graduate a vowel or consonant?

The word "graduate" starts with a consonant.

Which article is used with graduate?

The articles "a," "an," or "the" can be used with "graduate" when it functions as a noun, depending on whether it is used in a specific or general context.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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