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give someone the third degree

to question someone in great detail

TRANSLATION

give someone the third degree = jemanden ins Kreuzverhör nehmen --- GOOGLE INDEX give someone the third degree: approximately 14,000,000 Google hits

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

After she spoke with the FBI she was brought back to the District Attorney's office where SHE GOT THE THIRD DEGREE.

(New York Times)

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After having lived in Britain for some 20 or so years, my Dad moved back home to the U.S. on a one-way ticket and HE GOT THE THIRD DEGREE at passport control.

(posting from an Internet travel forum)

Did you
know?

(give someone) the third degree
idiom

- asking serious questions and/or giving someone rough treatment to get information

(Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

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The expression "the third degree" originated from the Masonic Fraternity. Also known as the Free Masons, no one knows for certain how or when the Masonic Fraternity was formed. A widely accepted theory among Masonic scholars is that it arose from the stonemasons’ guilds during the Middle Ages.

The language and symbols used in the fraternity’s rituals come from this era. The oldest document that makes reference to Masons is the Regius Poem, printed about 1390. In 1717, four lodges in London formed the first Grand Masonic Lodge of England.

In Masonic lodges there are three degrees of membership: Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason. When a candidate receives the third degree in a Masonic lodge, he undergoes long and detailed questioning. It was this ritual that U.S. law enforcement eventually adopted in the early 20th century as a term for interrogating suspects. Over time the expression came to be used in a general sense for intense questioning.

(sources: Masonic Service Association, Wikipedia)

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SMUGGLE OWAD into today's conversation

"These days I don't take much on the plane with me when I travel because I don't want to get the third degree from airport security."

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