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[thur-moh-dahy-nam-iks] /ˌθɜr moʊ daɪˈnæm ɪks/
noun, (used with a singular verb)
the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy or work, and the conversion of one into the other: modern thermodynamics deals with the properties of systems for the description of which temperature is a necessary coordinate.
Origin of thermodynamics
First recorded in 1850-55; thermo- + dynamics
Related forms
thermodynamicist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for thermodynamics
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is otherwise with the second principle of thermodynamics.

    Creative Evolution Henri Bergson
  • Containing Applications to thermodynamics, with numerous Examples.

    Twentieth Century Inventions George Sutherland
  • In the four years preceding the war he contributed articles on thermodynamics to scientific papers.

    When Winter Comes to Main Street

    Grant Martin Overton
  • This fact, however, depends ultimately upon the second law of thermodynamics (see Radiation).

  • thermodynamics does not teach us anything about a mass of heat sticking to the surface of a block of matter of any kind.

    New Theories in Astronomy Willam Stirling
  • The human brain and the secondary laws of thermodynamics had combined to thwart the will of a relentless universe.

    Deepfreeze Robert Donald Locke
  • This is the second fundamental law of thermodynamics, the law of the degradation of energy.

    Major Prophets of To-Day Edwin E. Slosson
  • They disobey the second law of thermodynamics, rising in a lighter liquid, as midges rise in the tenuous air.

    Psychical Miscellanea J. Arthur Hill
  • Many versed in the science of thermodynamics (heat power) shook their heads in doubt.

    Perpetual Motion Percy Verance
British Dictionary definitions for thermodynamics


(functioning as sing) the branch of physical science concerned with the interrelationship and interconversion of different forms of energy and the behaviour of macroscopic systems in terms of certain basic quantities, such as pressure, temperature, etc See also law of thermodynamics
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for thermodynamics

theory of relationship between heat and mechanical energy, 1854, from adj. thermodynamic; also see -ics.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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thermodynamics in Medicine

thermodynamics ther·mo·dy·nam·ics (thûr'mō-dī-nām'ĭks)

  1. Physics that deals with the relationships between heat and other forms of energy.

  2. Thermodynamic phenomena and processes.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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thermodynamics in Science
The branch of physics that deals with the relationships between heat and other forms of energy. Four basic laws have been established. ◇ The first law states that the amount of energy added to a system is equal to the sum of its increase in heat energy and the work done on the system. The first law is an example of the principle of conservation of energy. ◇ The second law states that heat energy cannot be transferred from a body at a lower temperature to a body with a higher one without the addition of energy. Thus, warm air outside can transfer its energy to a cold room, but transferring energy out of a cold room to the air outside requires extra energy (as with an air conditioner). ◇ The third law states that the entropy of a pure crystal at absolute zero is zero. Since there can be no physical system with lower entropy, all entropy is thus defined to have a positive value. ◇ The zeroth law states that if two bodies are in thermal equilibrium with some third body, then they are also in equilibrium with each other. This law has its name because it was implicitly assumed in the development of the other laws, and is in fact more fundamental than the others, but was only later established as a law itself.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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thermodynamics in Culture

thermodynamics definition

The branch of physics devoted to the study of heat and related phenomena. The behavior of heat is governed by the three laws of thermodynamics: (1) The total energy of an isolated system cannot change; this is the law of conservation of energy. (2) Heat will not flow from a cold to a hot object spontaneously (see entropy). (3) It is impossible, in a finite number of operations, to produce a temperature of absolute zero.

Note: All thermodynamic properties of matter can be understood in terms of the motion of atoms and molecules.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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