Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    The grade of a crime according to its gravity.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    In the law of descent and family relations. A step or grade, i. e., the distance or number of removes, which separates two persons who are related by consanguinity. Thus we speak of cousins in the "second degree." In criminal law. The term "degree" denotes a division or classification of one specific crime into several grades or stadia of guilt, according to the circumstances attending its commission. Thus, in some states, there may be "murder in the second degree."