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Degree vs. Fahrenheit: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 23, 2023
A degree is a unit of measurement for angles and temperature, while Fahrenheit is a specific scale for measuring temperature.

Key Differences

A degree is a general term used in various contexts, such as measuring angles in geometry or temperature in meteorology. Fahrenheit, specifically, is a temperature scale where water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 degrees under standard atmospheric conditions.
Degrees can be used in different temperature scales, including Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Kelvin. Fahrenheit is limited to its own scale and is primarily used in the United States and some Caribbean countries.
When measuring angles, a degree represents 1/360th of a full circle. In the context of the Fahrenheit scale, it measures the intensity of heat or cold.
The concept of degrees is universal in various fields of science and mathematics. Fahrenheit, however, is a more specialized term, applicable only to temperature measurement and named after the German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit.
Degrees can be fractional or whole numbers, depending on the precision required. In Fahrenheit, temperatures are often expressed in whole numbers but can also be in decimals for more precise readings.

Comparison Chart


Temperature, angles
Temperature only


Used globally in various scales
Primarily used in the U.S. and a few other regions


Part of multiple scales (Celsius, Kelvin)
Specific temperature scale


Latin word 'de gradus' meaning step
Named after Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit

Numeric Representation

Can be fractional or whole
Often whole numbers, but can be fractional

Degree and Fahrenheit Definitions


A level or amount in a graded scale.
He has a high degree of expertise.


Used to express temperatures in the U.S.
The forecast predicts a high of 75 degrees Fahrenheit.


A rank or grade of official, academic, or social standing.
She earned her degree in biology.


A scale developed by Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit.
The Fahrenheit scale is still commonly used in the United States.


A unit of measure for angles.
A right angle is 90 degrees.


A temperature scale with the freezing point of water at 32 degrees.
It's 32 degrees Fahrenheit today, just at the freezing point.


A unit in temperature scales.
Zero degrees Celsius is the freezing point of water.


Measurement of thermal energy on the Fahrenheit scale.
She checked the temperature, it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit.


A stage in a scale or series
The project is in its initial degree of development.


A scale where the boiling point of water is 212 degrees.
Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.


One of a series of steps in a process, course, or progression; a stage
Proceeded to the next degree of difficulty.


Of or relating to a temperature scale that registers the freezing point of water as 32° and the boiling point as 212° at one atmosphere of pressure. See Table at measurement.


A step in a direct hereditary line of descent or ascent
First cousins are two degrees from their common ancestor.


Conforming to the scale used by Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit in the graduation of his thermometer; of or relating to Fahrenheit's thermometric scale. Used as an alternative to celsius.


German physicist who invented the mercury thermometer and developed the scale of temperature that bears his name (1686-1736)


Can degree be used in different temperature scales?

Yes, degree is a unit in Celsius, Fahrenheit, and Kelvin scales.

Why is Fahrenheit named so?

It's named after German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit who proposed it.

Is Fahrenheit used globally?

No, Fahrenheit is primarily used in the United States and a few other countries.

How is Fahrenheit different from Celsius?

Fahrenheit has different scale points, with 32 degrees as the freezing point of water, unlike 0 in Celsius.

Are degrees always whole numbers?

No, degrees can be fractional for precision, especially in temperature.

Can angles be measured in Fahrenheit?

No, Fahrenheit is only for temperature, while angles are measured in degrees.

Are Fahrenheit readings more precise than Celsius?

Not necessarily, precision depends on the context and measurement requirements.

What's the highest degree in academia?

Typically, a doctorate is considered the highest academic degree.

Is degree used outside temperature measurement?

Yes, degree is also used in measuring angles and academic qualifications.

Is Fahrenheit still relevant in science?

Yes, but mostly in regions where the Fahrenheit scale is used.

Can Fahrenheit be used in cooking?

Yes, especially in recipes and ovens in the United States.

What does a degree symbol look like?

It's a small circle (°) placed above the number.

Is degree a more versatile term than Fahrenheit?

Yes, degree has broader applications in various scientific and educational fields.

Can Fahrenheit be converted to Celsius?

Yes, there's a formula to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius and vice versa.

Is degree a more common term than Fahrenheit?

Yes, degree is more universally recognized and used.

Can Fahrenheit be used in scientific research?

Yes, but scientists often prefer Celsius or Kelvin for standardization.

Are degree and Fahrenheit interchangeable?

No, they are distinct concepts with specific applications.

Do all countries use Fahrenheit for weather reports?

No, many countries use Celsius for weather and temperature reports.

Is learning Fahrenheit necessary for traveling?

It's helpful in regions like the U.S. where it's commonly used.

Why do some countries prefer Fahrenheit?

Historical reasons and customary practices contribute to this preference.
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
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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