n. & v.
n. 1 a a certain degree in rank, merit, proficiency, quality, etc. b a class of persons or things of the same grade. 2 a a mark indicating the quality of a student's work. b an examination, esp. in music. 3 US a class in school, concerned with a particular year's work and usu. numbered from the first upwards. 4 a a gradient or slope. b the rate of ascent or descent. 5 a a variety of cattle produced by crossing native stock with a superior breed. b a group of animals at a similar level of development. 6 Philol. a relative position in a series of forms involving ablaut.
v. 1 tr. arrange in or allocate to grades; class, sort. 2 intr. (foll. by up, down, off, into, etc.) pass gradually between grades, or into a grade. 3 tr. give a grade to (a student). 4 tr. blend so as to affect the grade of colour with tints passing into each other. 5 tr. reduce (a road etc.) to easy gradients. 6 tr. (often foll. by up) cross (livestock) with a better breed. at grade US on the same level. grade crossing US = level crossing. grade school US elementary school. make the grade colloq. succeed; reach the desired standard.
[ F grade or L gradus step ]