thermal

1 of 2

adjective

ther·​mal ˈthər-məl How to pronounce thermal (audio)
1
a
: of, relating to, or caused by heat
thermal stress
thermal insulation
b
: being or involving a state of matter dependent upon temperature
thermal conductivity
thermal agitation of molecular structure
c
: having low energies of the order of those due to thermal agitation
thermal neutrons
2
: designed (as with insulating air spaces) to prevent the dissipation of body heat
thermal underwear
3
[Latin thermae public baths, from Greek thermai, plural of thermē] : of, relating to, or marked by the presence of hot springs
thermal waters
thermally adverb

thermal

2 of 2

noun

: a rising body of warm air

Did you know?

In days gone by, much of the male population of the northern states in the cold months would wear a garment of thermal underwear covering the entire body, called a union suit. Union suits kept sodbusters, cowboys, and townsfolk alike not only warm but also itchy and a little on the smelly side (back when bathing once a week was considered the height of cleanliness). Thermal imaging is photography that captures "heat pictures"--rather than ordinary light pictures--of objects. And thermal pollution occurs when industrial water use ends up warming a river in a damaging way. Small-plane pilots use thermal as a noun for a warm updraft, often over a plowed field or desert, that lifts their wings, just as it enables hawks to soar upward without moving their wings.

Examples of thermal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
In the spate of recent attacks, Russia has damaged about a dozen Ukrainian thermal power plants and at least four hydropower plants, according to officials. Tom Soufi Burridge, ABC News, 10 Apr. 2024 Last month’s strikes, which simultaneously hit numerous energy infrastructure sites across Ukraine, obliterated 80 percent of capacity at DTEK’s thermal power plants. Serhii Korolchuk, Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2024 Ultraviolet radiation can damage the eyes's cells, while heat from infrared radiation can cause thermal damage, according to the National Eye Institute. S. Dev, CBS News, 4 Apr. 2024 According to a preliminary report released on Jan. 25, thermal damage was shown near the mouth of the envelope. Coleby Phillips, The Arizona Republic, 4 Apr. 2024 The envelope remained attached to the basket and showed thermal damage near the mouth of the envelope. Nicole Acosta, Peoplemag, 4 Apr. 2024 For your journey here, you'll be richly rewarded with incredible beaches and natural wonders (a petrified forest on Lesvos, volcanic rocks and sand dunes on Limnos, and thermal springs on Ikaria). Eleni N. Gage, Travel + Leisure, 1 Apr. 2024 These include the display module, removable SSD, battery, motherboard (main processor and memory), thermal module, speakers, cameras, and more. Matthew Buzzi, PCMAG, 21 Mar. 2024 As the Attorney’s office noted, the ground in the thermal areas is fragile, while the water below is boiling hot, putting those who trespass in danger while also potentially compromising the preservation efforts of the thermal areas. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 15 Mar. 2024
Noun
The collection features eight apparel styles including track jackets, thermals, jersey, woven shorts, and more. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 8 Apr. 2024 What’s the difference between solar electric and solar thermal? IEEE Spectrum, 21 Feb. 2024 The music, too, is idiosyncratic: For 60 minutes, plainsong, gospel, electronica, soul and the New Orleans funk of Christian’s upbringing layer into each other like atmospheric thermals. Jesse Green, New York Times, 19 Jan. 2024 Military officials searched the river with lights, thermals and night-vision goggles but did not see any other migrants trying to cross or in distress, the statement said. Alexandra E. Petri, Los Angeles Times, 17 Jan. 2024 Though thermals, thick sweaters and puffy coats make sense on icy streets, enter a packed subway, stuffy restaurant or inferno-like office and cue the perspiration. Ashley Ogawa Clarke, WSJ, 14 Dec. 2023 Linus Tech Tips' teardown goes a bit deeper into the thermals and noise suppression of the new model. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 7 Nov. 2023 And boy, does that legacy continue with these thermals. Todd Plummer, Robb Report, 25 Oct. 2023 Don’t make the mistake of thinking the thermals of today are the saggy, yellowing styles of yesteryear. Todd Plummer, Robb Report, 25 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'thermal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

Greek thermē

First Known Use

Adjective

1742, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Noun

1933, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of thermal was in 1742

Dictionary Entries Near thermal

Cite this Entry

“Thermal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thermal. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

thermal

1 of 2 adjective
ther·​mal ˈthər-məl How to pronounce thermal (audio)
1
: of or relating to a hot spring
thermal springs
2
: of, relating to, caused by, or saving heat
thermal energy
thermal underwear
thermally adverb

thermal

2 of 2 noun
: a rising body of warm air

Medical Definition

thermal

adjective
ther·​mal ˈthər-məl How to pronounce thermal (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or caused by heat
tactile and thermal senses
2
: being or involving a state of matter dependent upon temperature
thermal agitation of molecular structure
thermally adverb

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