# Degree celsius vs. Celsius degree

While reading my copy of "Resnick and Halliday", I noticed that the book has made a distinction b/w the terms " degree celsius" and "celsius degree". When I googled this, I was able to find only one matching hit(on the first page), which stated that while degree celsius is the unit for the measured temperature, celsius degree is the unit of the difference in temperature. Is this correct?

Please share your knowledge and help me.

• Yeah, that agrees with what I've heard. In practice, people will use both forms interchangeably, so don't worry about it. Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 2:33
• While that is not the only text I've seen make that distinction (and some even denote the two as $^\circ\mathrm{C}$ and $\mathrm{C}^\circ$) and I'm sure there is a standards document out there to support it, I don't believe I've ever seen the distinction used with malice aforethought in the wild. Perhaps I just don't run in the right circles. Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 3:13
• I'm sorry but I'm not sure if I understand what you mean by the term "malice aforethought".
– user106570
Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 4:09
• Uhm. Yeah, a rather obscure idiom. I apologize. I mean with intent that the distinction you outline should be understood by the audience. The phrase echos an old-fashioned description of pre-meditated murder as being done with "malice aforethought" (that is, thought out ahead of time). Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 4:28
• @knzhou (first comment) that should have been an answer Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 10:03

## 3 Answers

Celsius degrees is the difference between two thermometer readings but degrees celsius is the actual temperature reading by thermometer.

The distinction between degrees Celsius (or Fahrenheit) and Celsius degrees is nuanced but not unimportant. Consider a temperature specification of 900C +/- 14C. Were this spec converted to Fahrenheit, the correct interpretation of +/- 14C would be +/- 25F, not +/- 57F, even though 14C = 57F.

Temperature is measured as an effect on other material properties (e.g. increase in volume, voltage / current generated, etc). It is possible that a difference of say 100 units (C°) from 0 °C to 100 °C is not the same as that from 200 °C to 300 °C if a different parameter of measurement is considered.

I believe this is why different notations are used for the value of the temperature and for a difference in temperature.

• Temperature is a fundamental property as is clear from statistics. It has nothing to do with how it is measured. Commented Jan 14, 2023 at 7:32
• Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
– Community Bot
Commented Jan 14, 2023 at 13:42