The exponent on a term tells you the "degree" of the term.

The leading term in the polynomial is a "second-degree term" or "a term of degree two".

The second term is a "first degree" term. The degree of the leading term tells you the degree of the whole polynomial; the polynomial above is a "second-degree polynomial".

**Example:**

3x^{5} – 6x^{3} – 12x + 5

This polynomial has four terms:

- A fifth-degree term
- A third-degree term
- A first-degree term
- A constant term.

The degree of a polynomial is the highest degree of its monomials (individual terms) with non-zero coefficients. The degree of a term is the sum of the exponents of the variables that appear in it, and thus is a non-negative integer.