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Celsius vs. Centigrade: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 15, 2023
Both terms refer to the same temperature scale, with "Celsius" being the modern name and "Centigrade" the historical term.

Key Differences

Celsius is the contemporary term for a temperature scale previously known as centigrade. It measures temperature in degrees, where water freezes at 0 degrees and boils at 100 degrees under standard atmospheric conditions.
The term Celsius was adopted in honor of the astronomer Anders Celsius, who first proposed a similar system. Centigrade, derived from Latin, literally means "consisting of or divided into 100 degrees."
The Celsius scale is widely used in the world, except in the United States, where the Fahrenheit scale is more common. The term centigrade was used more frequently until the mid-20th century.
In scientific contexts, Celsius is the preferred term as it reflects the standard international unit of temperature in the metric system. Centigrade is now considered somewhat outdated, though it is still understood to mean the same scale.
The change from centigrade to Celsius was part of a larger movement to standardize units and terminology in science and measurement. This shift emphasizes the scale's connection to its creator, Anders Celsius.

Comparison Chart

Name Origin

Named after Anders Celsius.
Derived from Latin for 100 degrees.

Historical Usage

Adopted in the 20th century.
Used until mid-20th century.

Scientific Recognition

Official term in scientific use.
Considered outdated in science.

Global Usage

Widely used internationally.
Less common, mostly historical.

Relation to Measurement

Part of modern metric system.
Part of historical measurement.

Celsius and Centigrade Definitions


Celsius is a scale for measuring temperature where 0 is the freezing point of water.
The weather forecast predicts a high of 23 degrees Celsius.


Centigrade is a historical term for a temperature scale now known as Celsius.
32 degrees Centigrade is equivalent to 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit.


Celsius is the standard unit in the metric system for temperature.
The boiling point of water is 100 degrees Celsius at sea level.


Centigrade, like Celsius, sets the freezing point of water at 0 degrees.
The climate zone averages 15 degrees Centigrade throughout the year.


Celsius, often denoted as °C, is used in most countries worldwide.
In Celsius, room temperature is typically around 20 degrees.


Centigrade refers to a scale dividing the temperature between water's freezing and boiling points into 100 degrees.
Temperatures in the high Centigrade are common in desert regions.


Celsius is crucial in scientific temperature measurements.
Laboratory experiments often require temperatures specified in Celsius.


Centigrade was commonly used before the adoption of the term Celsius.
Older thermometers often have temperatures marked in Centigrade.


Celsius is a scale where the interval between the freezing and boiling point of water is divided into 100 parts.
Temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius indicate freezing conditions.




Of or relating to a temperature scale that registers the freezing point of water as 0° and the boiling point as 100° under normal atmospheric pressure. See Table at measurement.


(of a scale) Having 100 divisions between two fixed points.


Alternative case form of Celsius


Celsius (since 1948).


The Celsius thermometer or scale, so called from Anders Celsius, a Swedish astronomer, who invented it. It is the same as the centigrade thermometer or scale.


(uncountable) A centigrade temperature scale having the freezing point of water defined as 0° and its boiling point defined as 100° at standard atmospheric pressure. Although formally known as the Celsius scale since 1948, centigrade is still the more commonly found term.


Swedish astronomer who devised the centigrade thermometer (1701-1744)


A single degree on this scale.
A temperature of 34 centigrades


(countable) A unit of angle equal to the hundredth part of a quadrant. Its symbol is gon.


Consisting of a hundred degrees; graduated into a hundred divisions or equal parts.


Centigrade is sometimes still used interchangeably with Celsius.
Her recipe calls for the oven to be preheated to 180 degrees Centigrade.


Is Centigrade still used?

It's less common now, mostly replaced by Celsius.

What does the term Centigrade mean?

Centigrade, derived from Latin, means divided into 100 degrees.

Is Celsius used globally?

Yes, except in a few countries like the United States.

What is Celsius?

It's a temperature scale where water freezes at 0 degrees and boils at 100 degrees.

Can Celsius and Centigrade be used interchangeably?

In everyday context, they are often used interchangeably.

Who invented the Celsius scale?

The scale was proposed by astronomer Anders Celsius.

Do scientists prefer Celsius or Centigrade?

Scientists prefer Celsius for its standardization.

Why was the term Centigrade changed to Celsius?

To honor the scale's creator and standardize scientific terms.

When was Celsius adopted over Centigrade?

The change occurred in the mid-20th century.

What is the symbol for Celsius?

It's denoted as °C.

Are weather forecasts given in Celsius?

Yes, in most countries except the U.S.

Is Celsius easier to understand than Fahrenheit?

It can be more intuitive for temperature comparisons, like freezing and boiling points.

Is Celsius part of the metric system?

Yes, it's the standard temperature unit in the metric system.

How do you convert Fahrenheit to Celsius?

Subtract 32 from Fahrenheit, multiply by 5, then divide by 9.

What are typical room temperatures in Celsius?

Room temperature is about 20 to 22 degrees Celsius.

Is Fahrenheit more accurate than Celsius?

No, it's just a different scale, not more or less accurate.

How is Celsius used in cooking?

Recipes outside the U.S. often use Celsius for oven temperatures.

What's the boiling point of water in Celsius?

It boils at 100 degrees Celsius at sea level.

Can digital thermometers display Celsius?

Most digital thermometers can switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Did Celsius originally invert the scale?

Yes, initially 0 was boiling, and 100 was freezing, but it was later reversed.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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