• WordNet 3.6
    • n thermometer measuring instrument for measuring temperature
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Dating back to the 1600's, thermometers were filled with Brandy instead of mercury.
    • n Thermometer (Physics) An instrument for measuring temperature, founded on the principle that changes of temperature in bodies are accompanied by proportional changes in their volumes or dimensions.☞ The thermometer usually consists of a glass tube of capillary bore, terminating in a bulb, and containing mercury or alcohol, which expanding or contracting according to the temperature to which it is exposed, indicates the degree of heat or cold by the amount of space occupied, as shown by the position of the top of the liquid column on a graduated scale. See Centigrade Fahrenheit, and Réaumur. To reduce degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Centigrade, substract 32° and multiply by 5/9; to reduce degrees Centigrade to degrees Fahrenheit, multiply by 9/5 and add 32°.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n thermometer An instrument by which the temperatures (see temperature and thermometry) of bodies are ascertained, founded on the common property belonging to all bodies, with very few exceptions, of expanding with heat, the rate or quantity of expansion being supposed to be proportional to the degree of heat applied, and hence indicating that degree. The expanding substance may be a liquid, as mercury or alcohol; a gas, as in the air-thermometer (which see); or a solid, as in the metallic thermometer (see below). The ordinary thermometer consists of a slender glass tube with a small bore, containing in general mercury or alcohol; this expands or contracts by variations in the temperature of the atmosphere, or on the instrument being brought into contact with any other body, or being immersed in a liquid or gas which is to be examined, and the state of the atmosphere, the body, liquid, or gas, with regard to heat, is indicated by a scale either applied to the tube or engraved on its exterior surface. The thermometer was invented by Galileo at some date prior to 1611, and was developed by his pupils through the first thirty years of the seventeenth century. In 1641 the Florentine philosophers were using a thermometer consisting of a bulb filled with alcohol, with sealed stem, and graduated on the stem according to an arbitrary scale, of which the divisions were, approximately, fiftieths of the volume of the bulb. Sagredo adopted a scale of 360 divisions, like the graduation of a circle, and fixed the application of the word degree to the thermometric spaces. No means of comparing observations made with thermometers containing different fluids and of different manufacture were possible until Fahrenheit adopted a graduation between two fixed temperatures. For the zero of his scale Fahrenheit adopted the lowest temperature observed by him in the winter of 1709, and for his upper fixed point he took the temperature of the body, and marked it 90°. By this system of numeration the temperature of melting ice became 32°, and the boiling-point of water 212°. This is the scale of the Fahrenheit thermometer commonly used by English-speaking peoples and in Holland. De l'Isle, about 1730, first used the melting-point of ice and the boiling-point of water as the fixed points of the thermometric scale, and they gradually came to be universally accepted. In Réaumur's thermometer (formerly largely used in Germany and Russia, but now being superseded) the space between the freezing-point and the boiling-point of water is divided into 80 equal parts, the zero being at freezing. In the centigrade thermometer, used widely throughout. Europe, and very extensively in scientific investigations everywhere, the space between the freezing-point and the boiling-point of water is divided into 100 equal parts or degrees, the freezing-point being zero and the boiling-point 100°. The absolute zero of temperature is the logical beginning of a thermometric scale, but since thermometric temperatures are primarily relative, the zero-point is arbitrary, and the Fahrenheit, Réaumur, and centigrade thermometers present the different systems of numeration that have come into use. The following formulæ give the conversion of these scales: Let F, R, and C represent any temperature as given by the three scales respectively, then F = R × + 32° = C × + 32°. The standard mercurial thermometer consists of a slender tube with capillary bore hermetically sealed at the top, and terminating at its lower end in a bulb filled with mercury. The melting-point of ice and the boiling-point of water at standard pressure are determined on the tube, and the intermediate space is subdivided into equal parts. The graduations are extended above and below the fiducial points, and finally the tube is calibrated, and outstanding errors of the graduation are determined. Ordinary thermometers covering any desired small range of temperature are graduated by comparison with a standard. For extreme degrees of cold, thermometers filled with spirit of wine must be employed, as no degree of cold known is capable of freezing that liquid, whereas mercury freezes at about 39° below zero on the Fahrenheit scale. On the other hand, spirit of wine is not adapted to high temperatures, as it is soon converted into vapor, whereas mercury does not boil till its temperature is raised to 660° F. Mercury thermometers designed for measuring temperatures up to 400° C. (752° F.) are made by filling the stem and an upper bulb above the stem with nitrogen. The mercury expands against the increasing pressure of the nitrogen, and its boiling-point is raised thereby. Temperatures higher than this limit are usually obtained with air- or steam-thermometers and other forms of pyrometer (which see). The air- (or gas-)thermometer consists of a quantity of pure dry air or gas contained in a reservoir such that its change of volume or of pressure with varying temperatures may be properly observed. Two forms have been used— the constant-pressure thermometer, in which the gas is maintained at constant pressure and its varying volume measured; the constant-volume thermometer, in which the increase of pressure under constant volume is measured. This is the ordinary form in which the instrument is used. For accuracy it is decidedly superior to the mercury thermometer, and has been adopted as the ultimate standard to which all other thermometers are referred. In the metallic thermometer, as generally constructed, temperature is measured by the change in form of composite metal bars, due to their differential expansion (hence more properly called bimetallic thermometer). One of the early forms was that of Bréguet, which consists of a fine spiral bar made of platinum, gold, and silver. One end of the spiral is fixed, the other end being connected with a simple mechanical device to convert the curving or torsion of the bar under changes of temperature into the movement of an index over a dial having a scale marked in a circle upon it. The same principle, with variations in the mechanical application, is now much used in the construction of thermographs. For indicating very slight variations of temperature a thermo-electric junction or the bolometer is employed.
    • n thermometer Hence, figuratively, anything which (roughly) indicates temperature.
    • n thermometer A thermometer whose action is based on the variation of electrical resistance produced by changes of temperature in a metallic conductor. The difference in the resistance between a current passing through a conductor of known and one of unknown temperature gives the difference of temperature between the two. Also called differential-resistance thermometer. The most delicate form in which the principle is applied is the bolometer.
    • n thermometer The Rutherford maximum has a light movable steel index at the top of the mercurial column. The tube is placed horizontal, and as the temperature rises the mercury pushes the index before it. When the temperature falls, the index is left in situ to mark the position of the maximum.
    • n thermometer In Phillips's maximum, a small bubble of air makes a break in the upper part of the mercurial column. When the temperature begins to fall, the detached portion of the column is left behind to register the highest temperature.
    • n thermometer The Negretti maximum has the bore of the tube partly closed by a constriction just above the bulb. In rising temperatures mercury is forced from the bulb past the constriction, but when the temperature falls the mercury cannot readily return to the bulb, and the top of the mercurial column indicates the maximum temperature. In order to reset the thermometer to the current air-temperature, the mercury is forced back into the bulb by whirling the instrument on a swing-pin. This form of maximum is used at the stations of the United states Weather Bureau.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Thermometer thėr-mom′e-tėr an instrument for measuring the variations of sensible heat or temperature
    • ***


  • Napoleon Bonaparte
    “Public opinion is the thermometer a monarch should constantly consult.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Thermo-, + -meter,: cf. F. thermomètre. See Thermal
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. thermē, heat, metron, a measure.


In literature:

Here is a month's thermometer readings during July.
"The Forbidden Trail" by Honoré Willsie
Mr. Littlepage: I have seen the thermometer ten degrees below zero.
"Northern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Second Annual Meeting" by Northern Nut Growers Association
Each of the 180, 100 or 80 divisions in the respective thermometers is called a degree.
"Steam, Its Generation and Use" by Babcock & Wilcox Co.
Once the thermometer marked 30 degrees below zero.
"The Land of the Long Night" by Paul du Chaillu
During the rain the thermometer sunk to 76 deg., but rose directly afterward.
"The Expedition to Borneo of H.M.S. Dido" by Henry Keppel
The greatest mistake of all was starting out through that lonely waste with the thermometer at 52 deg.
"Ten Thousand Miles with a Dog Sled" by Hudson Stuck
At New York city, August 12th to 14th, 1853, the wet-thermometer stood at 80 deg.
"Farm drainage" by Henry Flagg French
Early in the year we had an arctic cold wave which put the thermometer from 23 to 33 degrees below zero.
"Northern Nut Growers Association, Report of the Proceedings at the Third Annual Meeting" by Northern Nut Growers Association
Anyway, it was one of the coldest days of winter, with a sharp north wind blowing, and the thermometer hard down to zero.
"The Heart of Unaga" by Ridgwell Cullum
On the 16th of November I found the thermometer was 98 deg.
"A Boy's Voyage Round the World" by The Son of Samuel Smiles
On the 16th October the thermometer at eight o'clock in the morning showed -4.5 deg.
"The Voyage of the Vega round Asia and Europe, Volume I and Volume II" by A.E. Nordenskieold
The lowest range of the thermometer during the months of January and February, 1853, in the Protector, was 28 deg.
"Langstroth on the Hive and the Honey-Bee" by L. L. Langstroth
The thermometer to-day 80 degrees; nearly a dead calm all day till ten o'clock.
"A Journey to America in 1834" by Robert Heywood
A glass tube, on the principle of a thermometer, determined when each article was done.
"Mizora: A Prophecy" by Mary E. Bradley
F. The temperature of the water should be taken with a bath thermometer; it should not be guessed at.
"The Eugenic Marriage, Vol 2 (of 4)" by W. Grant Hague
When the temperature of the interior, as recorded by the thermometer, has fallen to 60 deg.
"The Elements of Bacteriological Technique" by John William Henry Eyre
At Canton, during the summer months, the thermometer varies from 82 deg.
"The American Quarterly Review, No. 17, March 1831" by Various
It seemed rather enervating with the thermometer at 90 deg.
"Due West" by Maturin Murray Ballou
In June I saw the thermometer reach 103 deg.
"Our Italy" by Charles Dudley Warner
My pocket thermometer showed two degrees above zero.
"Wild Life on the Rockies" by Enos A. Mills

In news:

The signs and thermometers are starting to spring up.
Back where I'm from, we used to call them "thermometers.".
Bake the meatballs for 7 to 8 minutes, or until cooked through and a thermometer inserted at the centre of a meatball reads 165 F.
The Twin-Temp TT.52 thermometer offers both analog dial and 4-20 mA outputs .
Palmer Wahl began as America's first thermometer company in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1836.
Fixed and portable infrared thermometers.
Working carefully and quickly, remove the thermometer and stir in the peanuts .
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) On this first day of summer, the thermometer is on the rise, and so is the need to remind pet owners about the dangers of leaving pets in a hot car.
All have led, composed, arranged, taught and accumulated more degrees than any thermometer.
Replacement Starter Heat Reduction Installation Infrared Thermometer.
Control Company's new Traceable Wide-Range Big-Digit Refrigerator Thermometer has 7/8-inch high display that is easy to view.
Roast turkey 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until meet thermometer reaches 180 degrees when inserted deep in thigh.
The 12-inch diameter NSF-certified large refrigerator/freezer thermometer is suitable for hanging on the wall in walk-in refrigerators and freezers.
Thermometers are given out daily.
KWCH Thermometer Contest Entry Form.

In science:

The lowest temperature is measured using an Al/Al2O3 /Al tunnel junction as a thermometer.
Cavity sideband cooling of the Josephson phase
In the spirit of physical interpretation, we can chose to equip each infinitesimal part of the matter fluid with a thermometer and consider all physical measurements to be taken on, and with respect to, the matter frame.
Heat conduction in relativistic systems: alternatives and perspectives
The first requirement is to be measurable with a thermometer weakly and statistically coupled to the system [3, 4].
The effective temperature
This fact can be proven by studying the time-evolution of the thermometer coupled to M identical copies of the system, all of age tw and evolving independently.
The effective temperature
At the end of this section we shall illustrate, by the example of ‘thermometers’, the significance of axiom T4 for the existence of an entropy function.
The Physics and Mathematics of the Second Law of Thermodynamics
The example we give is not entirely academic; it is based on the physics of thermometers.
The Physics and Mathematics of the Second Law of Thermodynamics
Conversely, the example of the ‘world of thermometers’, discussed in Sect.
The Physics and Mathematics of the Second Law of Thermodynamics
This shows the state space of two ‘thermometers’, which means that there are only energy coordinates.
The Physics and Mathematics of the Second Law of Thermodynamics
CP search can prove to be a viable thermometer.
Penguins, charmless B decays and the hunt for CP violation
Neutron stars as thermometers for nucleon pairing: see text.
Thermal Evolution of Isolated Neutron Stars. II
One could thus consider fast cooling neutron stars as “thermometers for the highest Tc superfluid in the Universe” by comparing results of Figure 1B with estimated surface temperatures (see, e.g., Figure 2B): Tc ∼ 2 - 3 × 109 K.
Thermal Evolution of Isolated Neutron Stars. II
It is a fact that what we measure are the mechanical observables, and since we in general only know T (E ) for simple systems we call thermometers, we cannot apply (1) to the complicated system of interest.
How to Find the QCD Critical Point
We observe system B, which is our “thermometer”.
QCD critical point: what it takes to discover
Dual thermometers and a heater are placed at each end of the cell.
Bose-Einstein Condensation of Atomic Hydrogen
The vertical distance between the thermometers used for the following measurements is about 59 cm.
Bose-Einstein Condensation of Atomic Hydrogen