‘Fahrenheit' vs 'Celsius': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on June 19, 2023

Are you wondering the difference between 'Fahrenheit' vs. 'celsius?' If so, you are in the right place!

Here is a short answer: 

  • 'Fahrenheit' is a measurement of temperature or a thermometric scale on which water boils at 212 degrees and freezes at 32 degrees used in the United States, Libya, and the Cayman Islands.
  • 'Celsius' is a measurement of temperature or a thermometric scale used by most of the world that starts with the freeing point, which is zero or equal to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. 

There is more to learn about these terms. Reading this guide's definitions, examples, and pronunciations will help you remember the difference between 'Fahrenheit' vs. 'Celsius.' So, stick around until the end.

What is the Difference Between 'Fahrenheit' vs 'Celsius?'

'Fahrenheit' and 'Celsius' are both scales for measuring temperature. Each measures temperatures in degrees, but the Celsius scale starts with the freezing point, which is zero. The 'Fahrenheit' scale starts at zero, but the freezing point is 32 degrees.

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit first proposed the 'Fahrenheit' scale in 1724, and there are three nations, the United States, Libya, and the Cayman Islands that use 'Fahrenheit' while the rest of the world uses the 'Celsius' scale. The 'Celsius' measurement has been in use since Anders Celsius first began using it in 1816.32

How to Convert and Write 'Fahrenheit' to 'Celsius'

Here is a little cheat sheet for converting 'Fahrenheit' to 'Celsius.'

  • Fahrenheit Boiling Point: 212 degrees or 212º
  • Celsius Boiling Point: 100 degrees or 100º
  • Fahrenheit Freezing Point: 32 degrees or 32°
  • Celsius Freezing Point: 0 degrees or 0°
  • Fahrenheit to Celsius Convresion Formula: (x°F - 32) x 5/9 (ie: (212°F-32) x 5/9) = 99.99°C or (x°F - 32) x .5555 (ie: (212°F-32) x .555 = 99.99°C)

When to Use 'Fahrenheit' vs 'Celsius'

You know that 'Fahrenheit' and 'Celsius' are scales for measuring the temperature of something.

But how do you know which to use and when? 

  • Use 'Fahrenheit' when you are writing for an audience in the United States, Libya, or the Cayman Islands.

For example, if you are writing a recipe for American readers, you might say:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • Use 'Celsius' when you are writing to audiences in Europe: Asia, Mexico, South America, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.

For example, you might see a French or Italian recipe that says:

After you brown the near, preheat the oven to 375° Celsius. 

  • Use 'Fahrenheit' if you are working on a project that gives temperatures in Fahrenheit.

For example, if you are reading an American textbook, you might see something like:

Cook the mixture at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. 

  • Use 'Celsius' if you are studying overseas.

For example, if you are writing a report for a University in Europe you might say:

After conducting the experiment we found that the compound was stable until it reached 175° Celsius. 

It is important to identify what thermomic scale you are using, especially if you are writing a recipe or scientific instructions. Otherwise, people may use the wrong scale.

Definition of 'Fahrenheit': What Does 'Fahrenheit' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'Fahrenheit' is:

  • A thermometric scale on which, under normal atmospheric conditions, the freezing point is 32° above zero, and the boiling point is 212° above zero.

Definition of 'Celsius': What Does 'Celsius' Mean?

The same resource defines 'Celsius' as:

  • A thermometric scale is used in most of the world where the freezing point is zero, and the boiling point is 100°C.

It can also mean:

  • Centigrade.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Fahrenheit' vs 'Celsius'

Pronunciation is an important part of learning a new language, but learning the correct way to pronounce words can also help you become a better speaker and writer.

So, here is a pronunciation guide: 

  • This is the phonetic spelling for the correct pronunciation of 'Fahrenheit':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'Celsius':


Sample Sentences Using 'Fahrenheit' vs 'Celsius'

Before you go, read these sample sentences to ensure that you know how to use these terms in different ways.


  • In the United States, weather forecasts give temperatures in Fahrenheit.
  • The average summer temperature in the United States is 71.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, combine the liquid and dry ingredients and beat them for two minutes.
  • Most cookbooks sold in the United States give temperatures in Fahrenheit. 
  • If you are using a recipe from another country, there is a good chance that you will need to convert the temperatures into Fahrenheit. 


  • The temperature in Beijing, China, is 40 degrees Celsius.
  • Please adjust all of your temperature calculations to Celsius.
  • If you study overseas, you will likely need to use the Celsius thermometric scale.
  • Our final project is to bake a cake from a French recipe. To pass, you have to be able to translate the directions and Celsius temperatures.
  • The freezing point is zero degrees Celsius, and the boiling point is 100 degrees Celsius.


  • Adjusting from temperatures in Celsius to Fahrenheit can be confusing.
  • Most of the world uses the Celsius thermometric scale, but people in the United States use Fahrenheit.
  • Temperatures given in degrees Celsius are much lower than equivalent temperatures in Fahrenheit.
  • Most thermometers give temperatures in Fahrenheit and Celsius. So, be sure you are reading the thermometer correctly.
  • If someone says something is 360 degrees, they usually do not mean Celsius or Fahrenheit. It is a popular idiom.
  • The boiling point is 100 degrees Celsius and 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Final Advice on the Difference Between 'Fahrenheit' vs 'Celsius?'

Let's do a quick recap of 'Fahrenheit' and 'Celsius':

  • 'Fahrenheit' is a thermometric scale used in the United States, Libya, and the Cayman Islands. 
  • The freezing point of the 'Fahrenheit' scale is 32 degrees, and the boiling point is 212 degrees. 
  • 'Celsius' is the thermomic scale used by most of the world. 
  • The boiling point is 100 degrees 'Celsius,' and the freezing point is 0 degrees. 

After reading this post, you should remember the difference between 'Fahrenheit' vs. 'Celsius.' However, you can always return if you need to review this lesson.

You can also expand your vocabulary, learn essential grammar rules, and learn how to correctly use confusing words by reading the other guides here. Each contains definitions, pronunciations, and examples to help you gain a deep understanding of the terms.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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