A thermometer (from the Greek θερμός, thermos, meaning "hot" and μἐτρον, metron, "measure") is a device that measures temperature or temperature gradientusing a variety of different principles. A thermometer has two important elements: the temperature sensor (e.g. the bulb on a mercury-in-glass thermometer) in which some physical change occurs with temperature, plus some means of converting this physical change into a numerical value (e.g. the visible scale that is marked on a mercury-in-glass thermometer).
While an individual thermometer is able to measure degrees of hotness, the readings on two thermometers cannot be compared unless they conform to an agreed scale. There is today an absolute thermodynamic temperature scale. Internationally agreed temperature scales are designed to approximate this closely, based on fixed points and interpolating thermometers. The most recent official temperature scale is the International Temperature Scale of 1990. It extends from 0.65 K (−272.5 °C; −458.5 °F) to approximately 1,358 K (1,085 °C; 1,985 °F).