The sum of the exponents of the variables in a term is called the **degree of that term**.

For example, the degree of 2x^{2}y is 3 since the sum of the exponents of x and y is 2 + 1, i.e., 3. Similarly, the degree of the term 2x^{5} is 5.

The degree of a polynomial is the same as the degree of its term or terms having the highest degree and non-zero coefficient.

For example, consider the polynomial

3x^{4}y^{3} + 7xy^{5} – 5x^{3}y^{2} + 6xy

It has terms of degrees 7, 6, 5, and 2 respectively, of which 7 is the highest. Hence, the degree of this polynomial is 7.

A polynomial of degree 2 is also called a **quadratic polynomial**.

When all the coefficients of variables in the terms of a polynomial are zeros, the polynomial is called a **zero polynomial**. The degree of a zero polynomial is not defined.