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[thur-muh-kuhp-uh l] /ˈθɜr məˌkʌp əl/
noun, Physics.
a device that consists of the junction of two dissimilar metallic conductors, as copper and iron, in which an electromotive force is induced when the conductors are maintained at different temperatures, the force being related to the temperature difference: used to determine the temperature of a third substance by connecting it to the junction of the metals and measuring the electromotive force produced.
Also called thermoelectric couple, thermoelectric thermometer.
1885-90; thermo- + couple Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for thermocouple
  • Perhaps, using a thermocouple would be more efficient than using a photovoltaic device in the solar collector.
  • thermocouple resistance can be checked using an ohmmeter, giving an indication of thermocouple condition.
  • Understand the operation of a thermocouple for measuring temperatures.
  • Embed one thermocouple into the fresh concrete of each of two cylinders.
British Dictionary definitions for thermocouple


a device for measuring temperature consisting of a pair of wires of different metals or semiconductors joined at both ends. One junction is at the temperature to be measured, the second at a fixed temperature. The electromotive force generated depends upon the temperature difference
a similar device with only one junction between two dissimilar metals or semiconductors
Word Origin
C19: from thermo- + couple
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 thermocouple

1890, from thermo- + couple.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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thermocouple in Medicine

thermocouple ther·mo·cou·ple (thûr'mə-kŭp'əl)
A thermoelectric device used to measure temperatures accurately, especially one consisting of two dissimilar metals joined so that a potential difference generated between the points of contact is a measure of the temperature difference between the points.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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thermocouple in Science
A thermoelectric device used to make accurate measurements of temperatures, especially high temperatures. It consists of a circuit having two wires of different metals or metal alloys welded together. A temperature gradient across the junction of the wires gives rise to an electric potential by the Seebeck effect. This potential varies with the strength of the temperature gradient and can be measured by a voltmeter. Thermocouples can also be used to generate small amounts of electricity for powering other devices.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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thermocouple in Culture

thermocouple definition

A device for accurate measurement of temperature. A thermocouple consists of two dissimilar metals joined at two joints in a loop so that the difference in voltage can be measured. Because voltage changes in proportion to temperature, the voltage difference indicates temperature differences.

The American Heritage® 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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