A graduated cylinder is a type of equipment marked with lines for measuring water, and a graduate is a person is someone who's been awarded a degree. These two seemingly unrelated definitions are actually connected through the Medieval Latin word graduatus, which had to do with the increasing of a degree, whether scientific or tangible. That further comes from Latin gradus, which could mean "step", "rank", or "degree", and Proto-Indo-European ghredh, "walk". After first being used in the year 1479 in the Paston Letters, the word graduate peaked in usage in the 1970s and has remained constant since, although Google Trends shows it decreasing in popularity for whatever reason.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.