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The temperature of an ideal monatomic gas is related to the average kinetic energy of its atoms as they move. In this animation, the size of helium atoms relative to their spacing is shown to scale under 1950 atmospheres of pressure. These room-temperature atoms have a certain, average speed (slowed down here two '''trillion''' fold).

Temperature is a measure of the average energy of motion, or [kinetic energy] , of particles in matter. When particles of matter, whether in solids, liquids, gases, or elementary plasmas, move faster or have greater mass, they carry more kinetic energy, and the material appears warmer than a material with slower or less massive particles. Kinetic energy, a concept of [mechanics] , is the product of [mass] and the square of a particle's [velocity] . In the context of [thermodynamics] , it is also referred to as thermal energy and the transfer of thermal energy is commonly referred to as [heat] . Heat always flows from regions of higher temperature to regions of lower temperature.

English language speakers refer to an object of low temperature as being [cold] , and associate various degrees of higher temperature to terms such as luke-warm , warm , hot , and others.

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