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relative temperature scale

  1. A temperature scale in which measurements are amounts that are more or less than a reference amount. In the Celsius scale, for example, the reference amount is set as the freezing point of water, or zero. Other measurements are made relative to this point. Relative temperature scales have both positive and negative numbers. The Celsius scale and the Fahrenheit scale are relative temperature scales. Compare absolute temperature scale.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.