Occasionally I’ve heard weather presenters and other broadcasters say that, due to global warming we will be experiencing hotter temperatures.  Before we go any further, this is not a polemic about global warming. Once again it’s about sloppy english which indicates imprecise thinking. 

Temperatures are a measure ‘hotness' or ‘coldness’. Temperatures themselves cannot be hotter or colder. They can be higher or lower. Temperatures do not have temperatures. They are temperatures. 

You could ask how long is length? Can length itself be longer or shorter. No, of course not. An object can be longer or shorter and we can indicate that by measuring its length. An object can be hotter or colder and we can indicate that by measuring its temperature.

I’m sure some of you disagree with my point, so let me ask you this. If temperature can have temperature, can length have length? Can time have duration? Basically (as my children say at the start of awkward questions) can you measure a measurement? I know, I have too much time on my hands, but how much too much?