from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A device, as in a home heating system, a refrigerator, or an air conditioner, that automatically responds to temperature changes and activates switches controlling the equipment.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An automatic instrument or apparatus for regulating temperature.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Physics) A device which automatically regulates temperature, or provides a signal used by another device to regulate temperature. The temperature-sensitive signal may be electronic, as that produced by a thermocouple. The signal may also be caused mechanically, as by the unequal expansion of different metals, liquids, or gases by heat, which can then cause the opening or closing of the damper of a stove, or the like, as the heat becomes greater or less than is desired.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a device that automatically responds to changes in temperature by activating a heating or cooling system to maintain the temperature at a desired setting

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

  • noun a regulator for automatically regulating temperature by starting or stopping the supply of heat
  • verb control the temperature with a thermostat


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • Printed sign under one of the thermostats in my office building: "Do Not Change"

    Handwritten below it: "You're perfect the way you are."

    November 22, 2008