the definitions of "to have a temperature" and "to have a fever" in the dictionary are similar,

So can I say that these two have the same meaning?

I've got a fever/ a temperature.

  • 1
    The ordinary phrase is have a temperature. I might say I have a fever if I was explaining to somebody official why I couldn't be present at something; but with people I know, even bosses, I would say I've got a temperature.
    – Colin Fine
    Aug 30 at 16:56

Yes. Of course everyone and everything has a measurable temperature, but the idiom "to have a temperature" means exactly "to have a fever," that is to say an abnormally high temperature.

  • 1
    It might just be me, but I perceive "have a temperature" as less serious than "have a fever." Not that they represent different conditions, but rather a different emphasis or characterization of the same condition.
    – Juhasz
    Aug 30 at 17:03
  • @Juhasz I would agree with you. Probably a dialect difference between us and Colin Fine.
    – randomhead
    Aug 30 at 17:06

No. Lexico differentiates them by severity and formality.

1.2 informal A body temperature above the normal.


1 An abnormally high body temperature, usually accompanied by shivering, headache, and in severe instances, delirium.

For me, the difference is that a 'temperature' is inconvenient or uncomfortable, whereas a 'fever' is incapacitating. If someone says "I can't attend, I have a temperature" I might think man flu.

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