Grad Steps on the Gress


Quick Summary

The Latin root word grad and its variant gress both mean “step.” These roots are the word origin of many English vocabulary words, including graduate, gradual, aggressive, and egress. When you graduate, you are ready for the next “step” in your education; likewise, when you make a great deal of progress, you have “stepped” forward.

The Latin root word grad and its variant gress both mean “step.”

Let’s make the grade and take the first “step” with the root word grad. A grad or graduate has taken the next “step” up the educational ladder. Along the path towards graduation a graduate has received a lot of grades, or “steps” indicating how well she did in a certain subject: an “A” being the highest “step,” an “F” the lowest. A grade school consists of several grades," or “steps,” in elementary education, usually consisting of kindergarten through fifth grade. When a student moves gradually from 1st-12th grade, she is taking things “step” by “step” by not skipping any grades. Along the way, a student might have used a centigrade thermometer in science class, which uses a scale consisting of 100 “steps,” or degrees. She may also have used a graduated cylinder, a measuring device used in chemistry with small “steps” of volume marked upon it.

A common variant of grad is gress, which also means “step.” When you’ve made a lot of progress on a project, you’ve really “stepped” forward on it. Congress is a “stepping” together of elected officials who run our nation. If you are aggressive, you “step” towards someone with hostility. Sometimes aggressive people can overstep their boundaries and transgress upon another’s rights, or “step” across a line that should not be crossed. Speaking of crossing a line, an ingress is the entrance to a building where one “steps” in, or the act itself of “stepping” in; an egress, on the other hand, is the exit where one “steps” out, or the act of “stepping” out.

Lest I digress by “stepping” outside the bounds of this presentation, I will now regress or “step” back from this presentation so I can congratulate all the new graduates of the root words grad and gress—“step” right up to get your diplomas!

  1. grade: an academic ‘step’
  2. graduate: to take the next ‘step’ in one’s education, or one who has done so
  3. graduation: the act of taking the next ‘step’ in one’s education
  4. gradual: of moving slowly, ‘step’ by ‘step’
  5. centigrade: heat measuring system possessing 100 ‘steps’
  6. graduated: having ‘steps’
  7. progress: a ‘stepping’ forward
  8. Congress: institution where lawmakers ‘step’ together
  9. aggressive: of ‘stepping’ towards another with hostility
  10. ingress: a ‘stepping’ in, or the entrance where one ‘steps’ in
  11. egress: a ‘stepping’ out, or the exit where one ‘steps’ out
  12. digress: a ‘stepping’ apart
  13. regress: a ‘stepping’ back

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