Meaning of TEMPERATURE in English


measure of hotness or coldness expressed in terms of any of several arbitrary scales and indicating the direction in which heat energy will spontaneously flow, i.e., from a hotter body (one at a higher temperature) to a colder one (one at a lower temperature). Temperature is not the equivalent of the energy of a thermodynamic system; e.g., a burning match is at a much higher temperature than an iceberg, but the total heat energy of the much more massive iceberg is greater than the energy of the match. Temperature, like pressure or density, is called an intensive propertyone that is independent of the quantity of matter being consideredas distinguished from extensive properties such as mass or volume. Three temperature scales are in general use today. The Fahrenheit (F) temperature scale (q.v.) is used in the United States and a few other English-speaking countries. The Celsius (C) temperature scale (q.v.) is employed in virtually all countries that have adopted the metric system of measure and is also widely used in the sciences. The Kelvin (K) scale, an absolute temperature scale, is recognized as the international standard for scientific temperature measurement. In certain fields of engineering, another absolute temperature scale, the Rankine, is preferred over the Kelvin scale. Its unit of measurethe degree Rankine (R)equals the Fahrenheit degree, as the Kelvin equals one Celsius degree. A scale rarely used in recent years is the Raumur (Re) temperature scale (q.v.). See the Table for details on the relationships between these various temperature scales and instructions for converting values from one scale to another.

Britannica English vocabulary.      Английский словарь Британика.