from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A unit of absolute temperature equal to 1/273.16 of the absolute temperature of the triple point of water. One kelvin degree is equal to one Celsius degree. See Table at measurement.
  • n. A temperature scale in which zero occurs at absolute zero and each degree equals one kelvin. Water freezes at 273.15 K and boils at 373.15 K.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. In the International System of Units, the base unit of thermodynamic temperature; 1/273.16 of the thermodynamic temperature of the triple point of water. Shown as "K".
  • n. A unit interval on the Kelvin scale.
  • n. A unit for a specific temperature on the Kelvin scale.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The SI unit of temperature, defined as being 1/273.16 of the triple point of water; abbreviated K. The melting point of water at 760 mm pressure is 273.15 Kelvins, and the boiling point 373.15 Kelvins. One degree Kelvin is equal to one degree Centigrade, and 9/5 degrees Fahrenheit.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A name proposed, in honor of Lord Kelvin, for the kilowatt-hour which is the British Board of Trade unit of work.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the basic unit of thermodynamic temperature adopted under the Systeme International d'Unites
  • n. British physicist who invented the Kelvin scale of temperature and pioneered undersea telegraphy (1824-1907)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

After First Baron Kelvin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Named after the Irish-born Scottish physicist William Thomson, Lord Kelvin.



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  • I think it's silly to throw away the 'degrees' part of the Kelvin term, as degree has been used as n. A unit division of a temperature scale.

    When people write books, they tend to use 'degrees kelvin' instead of 'kelvin'
    Google Ngram of book usage of 'thousands of kelvin' versus 'thousands of degrees kelvin'

    April 28, 2015

  • I thought kelvin was already plural. Isn’t one degree a kelve?

    April 28, 2015

  • They're not kelvin, they're kelvins, if there are thousands of them.

    April 28, 2015

  • I live in Kelvin Avenue and I'm pretty sure it's never been degree Kelvin avenue.

    April 28, 2015

  • Apparently, we're not supposed to say 'degrees kelvin' but rather kelvin.
    Stars are 'thousands of kelvin' instead of 'thousands of degrees kelvin'.
    Google Books lists 'thousands of degrees kelvin' outnumbering 'thousands of kelvin' at 2500 to 445.

    Googlefight has 'thousands of kelvin' leading 'thousands of degrees kelvin' 639 to 358."thousands+of+kelvin"&word2;="thousands+of+degrees+kelvin"

    I think we're used to the 'unit temperature division' in the degree definition.

    apparently the disappearing degree goes back to 1967 
    "The 13th CGPM (1967) adopted the name kelvin (symbol K) instead of "degree Kelvin" (symbol °K) and defined the unit of thermodynamic temperature as follows..."

    April 27, 2015