Etymology
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thermal (adj.)

1756, "having to do with hot springs," from French thermal (Buffon), from Greek therme "heat, feverish heat," from PIE root *gwher- "to heat, warm." Sense of "having to do with heat" is first recorded 1837. The noun meaning "rising current of relatively warm air" is recorded from 1933.

updated on May 28, 2017

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Definitions of thermal from WordNet
1
thermal (adj.)
relating to or associated with heat;
thermal capacity
thermal movements of molecules
Synonyms: thermic / caloric
thermal (adj.)
of or relating to a hot spring;
thermal water
thermal (adj.)
caused by or designed to retain heat;
thermal underwear
a thermal burn
2
thermal (n.)
rising current of warm air;
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.