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This paper addresses the validity of the classical expression for the subthreshold swing (S) in SOI metal-oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs) at high temperature. Using numerical simulation, it is shown that two effects invalidate the classical expression of S at high temperature. Firstly, the depletion approximation becomes invalid and intrinsic free carriers must be taken into account to determine the effective body capacitance. Secondly, the charge-sheet model for the inversion layer becomes inaccurate due to a lowering of the electric field at the surface and a broadening of the inversion layer thickness in weak inversion. These effects must be taken into account to predict accurately the high-temperature subthreshold characteristics of both partially depleted and fully depleted SOI MOSFETs.