third de gree

third degree

noun
1.
intensive questioning or rough treatment, especially by the police, in order to get information or a confession.
2.
the degree of master mason in Freemasonry.

Origin:
1860–65

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World English Dictionary
third degree
 
n
informal torture or bullying, esp used to extort confessions or information

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

third degree
"intense interrogation by police," 1900, probably a reference to Third Degree of master mason in Freemasonry (1772), the conferring of which included an interrogation ceremony. Third degree as a measure of severity of burns (most severe) is attested from 1866, from Fr. (1832); in Amer.Eng., as a definition
of the seriousness of a particular type of crime (the least serious type) it is recorded from 1865.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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