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temer(arious) +‎ -ity, from Middle English temerite, temeryte, from Old French temerité, from Latin temeritās (chance, accident, rashness), from temerē (by chance, casually, rashly).



temerity (countable and uncountable, plural temerities)

  1. (uncountable) Reckless boldness; foolish bravery.
    Synonyms: audacity, foolhardiness, rashness, recklessness
    • 1569, Thomas Pearson, trans., "The Second Paradox," in The booke of Marcus Tullius Cicero entituled Paradoxa Stoicorum, T. Marshe (London),
      Neyther the spightfull temerity and rashnes of variable fortune, nor the envious hart burning and in iurious hatred of mine enemies shold be able once to damnify me.
    • 1837, Charles Dickens, chapter 17, in The Pickwick Papers:
      One day when he knew old Lobbs was out, Nathaniel Pipkin had the temerity to kiss his hand to Maria Lobbs.
    • 1886, Thomas Hardy, chapter 21, in The Mayor of Casterbridge:
      Elizabeth trotted through the open door in the dusk, but becoming alarmed at her own temerity, she went quickly out again by another which stood open in the lofty wall of the back court.
    • 1898, H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, London: William Heinemann, page 280:
      Terror seized me, a horror of my temerity.
    • 1913, Edgar Rice Burroughs, chapter 21, in The Return of Tarzan:
      I am surprised that you, sir, a man of letters yourself, should have the temerity so to interrupt the progress of science.
  2. (countable) An act or case of reckless boldness.
    • 1910, Edith Wharton, "The Blond Beast," Scribner's Magazine, vol. 48 (Sept),
      Draper, dear lad, had the illusion of an "intellectual sympathy" between them.... Draper's temerities would always be of that kind.
  3. (uncountable) Effrontery; impudence.
    Synonyms: brashness, cheek, gall, chutzpah
    • 1820, James Fennimore Cooper, chapter 30, in Precaution:
      He had very nearly been guilty of the temerity of arrogating to himself another title in the presence of those he most respected.
    • 1975, Woody Allen, Love And Death:
      Sonja (Diane Keaton): "That is incredibly jejune". Boris (Woody Allen): That's jejune? You have the temerity to say that I'm talking to you out of jejunosity? I am one of the most june people in all of the Russias!"

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