Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun tem·per·a·ture \ˈtem-pə(r)-ˌchu̇r, -p(ə-)rə-, -chər, -ˌtyu̇r, -ˌtu̇r\

Simple Definition of temperature

  • : a measurement that indicates how hot or cold something is : a measurement in degrees showing the heat of something (such as air or water)

  • : a measurement of the heat in a person's body

  • : a level of heat that is above what is normal for the human body

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of temperature

  1. 1 archaic a :  complexion 1b :  temperament 3b

  2. 2a :  degree of hotness or coldness measured on a definite scaleb :  the degree of heat that is natural to the body of a living beingc :  abnormally high body heat <running a temperature>

  3. 3a :  relative state of emotional warmth <scandals raised the political temperature>b :  mood <testing the temperature of voters>

Examples of temperature in a sentence

  1. Water boils at a temperature of 212°F.

  2. The samples are kept at a constant temperature.

  3. The weatherman predicted unusually low temperatures for the area.

  4. the normal body temperature of 98.6°F

Origin and Etymology of temperature

Latin temperatura mixture, moderation, from temperatus, past participle of temperare

First Known Use: 1533

TEMPERATURE Defined for Kids


noun tem·per·a·ture \ˈtem-pə-rə-ˌchu̇r, -prə-ˌchu̇r, -pə-ˌchu̇r, -chər\

Definition of temperature for Students

  1. 1 :  degree of hotness or coldness as measured on a scale

  2. 2 :  abnormally high body heat :  fever

Word Root of temperature

The Latin word temperāre, meaning “to make mild,” “to control,” or “to soften,” gives us the root temper. Words from the Latin temperāre have something to do with mildness or control. To temper is to soften or make something less strong or difficult. Someone temperamental has little control over her or his mood and reactions to people and events. Temperature, or the degree of hotness or coldness, tells whether something is mild, too hot, or too cold.

Medical Dictionary


play play
noun tem·per·a·ture \ˈtem-pə(r)-ˌchu̇(ə)r, -p(ə-)rə-, -chər, -ˌt(y)u̇(ə)r\

Medical Definition of temperature

  1. 1:  degree of hotness or coldness measured on a definite scale—see thermometer

  2. 2a:  the degree of heat that is natural to a living body <a normal oral temperature of about 98.6°F>b:  a condition of abnormally high body heat <was running a temperature>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up temperature? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having marks of different colors

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • monster-werewolf-photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.