thermal

adjective
ther·​mal | \ ˈthər-məl How to pronounce thermal (audio) \

Definition of thermal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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

thermal

noun

Definition of thermal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a rising body of warm air

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Other Words from thermal

Adjective

thermally \ ˈthər-​mə-​lē How to pronounce thermally (audio) \ adverb

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 Lisa Levandowski, an Amazon spokeswoman, said the company has added 150 new safety measures, including portable sinks, thermal cameras and additional janitorial staff, to its facilities during the pandemic. Washington Post, "Overworked and exhausted, warehouse workers brace for a frenzied holiday rush," 3 Sep. 2020 The screening uses thermal imaging and facial recognition technology to pinpoint people with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Infected minks, airport layoffs, crawfish farmers: News from around our 50 states," 18 Aug. 2020 Everybody entering the building also had to pass thermal cameras that measured their temperature and showed the number on a laptop monitored by a member of the school staff. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, "Hinsdale South High School freshmen orientation includes masks and temperature checks," 7 Aug. 2020 While the jury is still out on whether thermal imaging is effective, the point is that existing public safety robots were rapidly repurposed for public health. Smithsonian Magazine, "How Robots Are on the Front Lines in the Battle Against COVID-19," 22 Apr. 2020 Scientists also discovered only half of the children who tested positive for the disease had a fever, leading experts to question the heavy reliance of non-contact thermal scanners at building entrances. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "'Silent spreaders' of COVID-19: Kids who seem healthy may be more contagious than sick adults, study says," 20 Aug. 2020 So far, the ADOC has spent $3.9 million of that on personal protective equipment, $2.6 million on COVID-19 related staff leave, and $300,000 on infrared thermal cameras and computer equipment, Rose said. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Inmate video gives peek inside Alabama prison during quarantine," 18 Aug. 2020 For the next three weeks, Delta will require all passengers beginning their travel at LAX or connecting from the international terminal to domestic flights at Terminals 2 or 3 to pass by thermal imaging cameras. Kristen Leigh Painter, Star Tribune, "In a test, Delta checks passenger temps at LAX," 11 Aug. 2020 The metal detectors every sports fan has become accustomed to at the gate might soon be accompanied by thermal body scanners as part of the gargantuan task of preventing the spread of the new coronavirus and other airborne diseases. Dave Campbell, The Denver Post, "Stadium virus prevention steers spotlight toward fan privacy," 3 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With lockdowns lifting, many employers plan to use systems, including fever-detecting thermal cameras, mask-checking systems and corporate contact-tracing devices, to help prevent new Covid-19 outbreaks. Stephanie Bodoni, Bloomberg.com, "‘Wild West’ Awaits Companies Trying to Balance Virus Risks, Laws," 1 June 2020 Fever-checking thermal cameras are also starting to become ubiquitous. Helene Fouquet, Fortune, "What will the post-pandemic workplace look like? Europe offers a creepy glimpse," 23 May 2020 Fever-checking thermal cameras are also starting to become ubiquitous. Helene Fouquet, Fortune, "What will the post-pandemic workplace look like? Europe offers a creepy glimpse," 23 May 2020 Fever-checking thermal cameras are also starting to become ubiquitous. Helene Fouquet, Bloomberg.com, "Creepy Technologies Invade European Post-Pandemic Workplaces," 20 May 2020 Some airports, such as London Heathrow, Puerto Rico's San Juan airport, and Paine Field—a secondary airport in Seattle—are using thermal cameras to scan crowds for feverish temperatures. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "Temperature Checks Are Becoming Part of the Airline Boarding Process," 12 May 2020 In Florida's Palm Beach County, Dahua thermal cameras sold by RedSpeed and installed last month scan everyone who enters the county jail and courthouse, while a deputy with a laptop reviews people's temperatures from nearby. Drew Harwell, Anchorage Daily News, "Thermal scanners are the latest technology being deployed to detect the coronavirus. But they don’t really work.," 11 May 2020 In Midtown Manhattan, thermal cameras will measure body temperatures as employees file into a 32-story office tower at Rockefeller Center. Konrad Putzier And Chip Cutter, WSJ, "Welcome Back to the Office. Your Every Move Will Be Watched.," 5 May 2020 More than 1,500 thermal cameras were shipped to Amazon warehouses by China’s Zhejiang Dahua Technology, and at least 500 of the cameras are being sold within the U.S., Reuters reported Wednesday citing three sources. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "Amazon spends $10M on thermal cameras from Chinese firm blacklisted for alleged treatment of Uighurs: Report," 29 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thermal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of thermal

Adjective

1742, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Noun

1933, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for thermal

Adjective

Greek thermē

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Time Traveler for thermal

Time Traveler

The first known use of thermal was in 1742

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Statistics for thermal

Last Updated

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thermal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thermal. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for thermal

thermal

adjective
How to pronounce thermal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of thermal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or caused by heat
: designed to keep you warm by preventing heat from leaving your body
: having hot water flowing out of the ground

thermal

noun

English Language Learners Definition of thermal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a rising current of warm air that is produced when the sun heats an area of the ground
British : thermal clothing or underwear

thermal

adjective
ther·​mal | \ ˈthər-məl How to pronounce thermal (audio) \

Kids Definition of thermal

: of, relating to, or caused by heat thermal insulation

thermal

adjective
ther·​mal | \ ˈthər-məl How to pronounce thermal (audio) \

Medical Definition of thermal

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

Other Words from thermal

thermally \ -​mə-​lē How to pronounce thermally (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on thermal

Nglish: Translation of thermal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thermal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on thermal

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