(1)   The degree of hotness or coldness of a body or environment (corresponding to its molecular activity)
(2)   The somatic sensation of cold or heat


From French température or temperatura, from the past participle stem of temperare ‘temper’.


  1. The state or condition of being tempered or moderated.
  2. The balance of humours in the body, or one's character or outlook as considered determined from this; temperament.
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, Book I, New York 2001, p. 136:
      Our intemperence it is that pulls so many several incurable diseases on our heads, that hastens old age, perverts our temperature, and brings upon us sudden death.
    • 1759, Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Penguin 2003, p.5:
      [...] that not only the production of a rational Being was concern'd in it, but that possibly the happy foundation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind [...].
  3. A measure of cold or heat, often measurable with a thermometer.
    The boiling temperature of pure water is 100 degrees Celsius.
  4. An elevated body temperature, as present in fever and many illnesses.
    You have a temperature; I think you should stay home today. You’re sick.
  5. The temperature(1) of the immediate environment.
    The temperature dropped nearly 20 degrees; it went from hot to cold.
  6. A property of macroscopic amounts of matter that serves to gauge the average intensity of the random actual motions of the individually mobile particulate constituents. http://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0004055

See also

  • Customary: degrees Fahrenheit (°F), degrees Rankine (°R, measures absolute temperature)
  • Metric: degrees Celsius/centigrade (°C), kelvins (K, measures absolute temperature)
  • Wikisaurus:temperature

Related terms