Etymology
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Gradus ad Parnassum (n.)

Latin, literally "A Step to Parnassus," the mountain sacred to Apollo and the Muses; from Latin gradus "a step; a step climbed; a step toward something" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go"). Also see Parnassus. It was the title of a dictionary of prosody used in English public schools for centuries as a guide to Roman poetry. The book dates from the 1680s. Also the name of a treatise on musical composition written in Latin by Johann Joseph Fux, published in Vienna in 1725, and of a much-used book of exercises for piano.

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gradual (adj.)

early 15c., "having steps or ridges," from Medieval Latin gradualis, from Latin gradus "a step; a step climbed; a step toward something, a degree of something rising by stages" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go"). Meaning "arranged by degrees" is from 1540s; that of "taking place by degrees" is from 1690s.

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graduate (n.)

early 15c., "one who holds a degree" (originally with man; as a stand-alone noun from mid-15c.), from Medieval Latin graduatus, past participle of graduari "to take a degree," from Latin gradus "a step; a step climbed (on a ladder or stair);" figuratively "a step toward something, a degree of something rising by stages" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go"). As an adjective, from late 15c.

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progression (n.)

late 14c., progressioun, "action of moving from one condition to another," from Old French progression and directly from Latin progressionem (nominative progressio) "a going forward, advancement, growth, increase," noun of action from past-participle stem of progredi "go forward," from pro "forward" (see pro-) + gradi "to step, walk," from gradus "a step" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go"). The musical sense of "an advance from one note to another" or later one chord to another is by c. 1600. Related: Progressional.

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grade (n.)

1510s, "degree of measurement," from French grade "grade, degree" (16c.), from Latin gradus "a step, a pace, gait; a step climbed (on a ladder or stair);" figuratively "a step toward something, a degree of something rising by stages," from gradi (past participle gressus) "to walk, step, go," from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go." It replaced Middle English gree "a step, degree in a series," from Old French grei "step," from Latin gradus.

Meaning "inclination of a road or railroad" is from 1811. Meaning "class of things having the same quality or value" is from 1807; meaning "division of a school curriculum equivalent to one year" is from 1835; that of "letter-mark indicating assessment of a student's work" is from 1886 (earlier used of numerical grades). Grade A "top quality, fit for human consumption" (originally of milk) is from a U.S. system instituted in 1912. To figuratively make the grade "be successful" is from 1912; early examples do not make clear whether the literal grade in mind was one of elevation, quality, or scholarship.

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aggressive (adj.)

1791, "characterized by aggression, tending to make the first attack," with -ive + Latin aggress-, past participle stem of aggredi "to approach; to attempt; to attack," from ad "to" (see ad-) + gradi (past participle gressus) "to step," from gradus "a step," figuratively "a step toward something, an approach" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go"). In psychological use from 1913, first in translations of Freud. Colloquial meaning "self-assertive, pushy" is from 1931. Related: Aggressively; aggressiveness.

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aggression (n.)

1610s, "unprovoked attack," from French aggression (16c., Modern French agression), from Latin aggressionem (nominative aggressio) "a going to, an attack," noun of action from past-participle stem of aggredi "to approach; to attempt; to attack," from ad "to" (see ad-) + gradi (past participle gressus) "to step," from gradus "a step," figuratively "a step toward something, an approach" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go"). Psychological sense of "hostile or destructive behavior" first recorded 1912 in A.A. Brill's translation of Freud.

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*ghredh- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to walk, go." 

It forms all or part of: aggress; aggression; aggressive; centigrade; congress; degrade; degree; degression; digress; digression; egress; gradation; grade; gradual; graduate; grallatorial; gravigrade; ingredient; ingress; plantigrade; progress; progression; regress; regression; retrograde; retrogress; tardigrade; transgress; transgression.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin gradus "a step, a pace, gait," figuratively "a step toward something, a degree of something rising by stages;" gradi "to walk, step, go;" Lithuanian gridiju, gridyti "to go, wander;" Old Church Slavonic gredo "to come;" Old Irish in-greinn "he pursues."  

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progress (n.)

early 15., progresse, "a going on, action of walking forward," from Old French progres (Modern French progrès) and directly from Latin progressus "a going forward, an advance," noun of action from past-participle stem of progredi "go forward," from pro "forward" (see pro-) + gradi "to step, walk," from gradus "a step" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go").

In early use in English especially "a state journey by royalty." Meaning Figurative sense of "growth, development, advancement to higher stages" is by c. 1600, perhaps 15c. (the senses are not easy to distinguish).

To be in progress "underway" is attested by 1849 and preserves the older sense of "a course," whether good or bad (as in Hogarth's "Rake's Progress"); earlier it meant "in sequence" (as the volumes of a book), mid-15c. Progress report is attested by 1865.

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congress (n.)

c. 1400, "a body of attendants; also "meeting of armed forces" (mid-15c.); sense of "a coming together of people, a meeting of individuals" is from 1520s; from Latin congressus "a friendly meeting; a hostile encounter," past participle of congredi "to meet with; to fight with," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + gradi "to walk," from gradus "a step" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go").

Meaning "sexual union" is from 1580s. Specific sense of "a meeting of delegates, formal meeting of persons having a representational character" is first recorded 1670s. Used in reference to the national legislative body of the American states (with a capital C-) since 1775 (from 1765 in America as a name for proposed bodies).

The three sittings of the Continental Congress, representing the 13 rebellious American colonies, met 1774, 1775-6, and 1776-81. The Congress of the Confederation met from 1781-89, and the Congress of the United States met from March 4, 1789. The Congress of Vienna met Nov. 1, 1814, to June 8, 1815, and redrew the map of Europe with an eye to creating a balance of powers after the disruptions of Napoleon.

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