To be granted an academic degree or diploma: Two thirds of the entering freshmen stayed to graduate. To change gradually or by degrees. To advance to a new level of skill, achievement, or activity: After a summer of diving instruction, they had all graduated to back flips. To grant an academic degree or diploma to: The teachers hope to graduate her this spring. Usage Problem To receive an academic degree from. To arrange or divide into categories, steps, or grades. To divide into marked intervals, especially for use in measurement. 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.