• synonyms


noun Physics.
  1. a device consisting of a number of thermocouples joined in series, used for generating thermoelectric current or for detecting and measuring radiant energy, as from a star.
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Origin of thermopile

First recorded in 1840–50; thermo- + pile1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for thermopile

Historical Examples of thermopile

  • The principle of the thermopile we need not describe in detail.

    Colour Measurement and Mixture

    W. de W. Abney

  • So far as I know, this is the first application of the thermopile to variables.

  • This may be proved experimentally with proper apparatus, as for example with an instrument known as the thermopile.

    Aether and Gravitation

    William George Hooper

  • The heat of a match, or the cold of a piece of ice, will produce a current, even if held at some distance from the thermopile.

    Things a Boy Should Know About Electricity

    Thomas M. (Thomas Matthew) St. John

  • For years the efforts of inventors have been directed towards obtaining electrical energy from heat by means of the thermopile.

British Dictionary definitions for thermopile


  1. an instrument for detecting and measuring heat radiation or for generating a thermoelectric current. It consists of a number of thermocouple junctions, usually joined together in series
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Word Origin for thermopile

C19: from thermo- + pile 1 (in the sense: voltaic pile)
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

thermopile in Science


  1. A device consisting of a number of thermocouples connected in series or parallel, used for measuring temperature or generating current.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.