English [ edit ]
Alternative forms [ edit ]
Etymology [ edit ]
Middle English , temperen , from tempren Old English , ġetemprian , borrowed from temprian Latin temperō ( “ I divide or proportion duly, I moderate, I regulate; intransitive senses I am moderate, I am temperate ” ), from tempus ( “ time, fit season ” ). Compare also French . tempérer Doublet of . See tamper .
Pronunciation [ edit ]
temper ( , countable and uncountable plural )
A tendency to be in a certain type of
mood; a habitual way of thinking, behaving or reacting.
to have a good, bad, or calm temper
c. 1596, William Shakespeare, , Act V, Scene 2, King John
 A noble temper dost thou show in this;
1749, Henry Fielding, , Dublin: John Smith, Book 4, Chapter 2, p. 141, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
 [… ] when she smiled, the Sweetness of her Temper diffused that Glory over her Countenance, which no Regularity of Features can give.
1814, Jane Austen, , Chapter 4, Mansfield Park
 I am of a cautious temper, and unwilling to risk my happiness in a hurry.
1868, Louisa May Alcott, , Chapter 26, Little Women
 [… ] Amy smiled without bitterness, for she possessed a happy temper and hopeful spirit. 1928, Virginia Woolf, , Penguin, 1942, Chapter 2, p. 48, Orlando
 [… ] it appeared as if to be alone in the great house of his fathers suited his temper. State of mind; mood.
1667, John Milton, , Book 9, lines 1046-1048, Paradise Lost
 Remember with what mild
temper he both heard and judg’d Without wrauth or reviling;
1719, Daniel Defoe, , London: W. Taylor, p. 193, Robinson Crusoe
 [… ] I must testify from my Experience, that a Temper of Peace, Thankfulness, Love and Affection, is much more the proper Frame for Prayer than that of Terror and Discomposure;
1818, Mary Shelley, , Volume 3, Chapter 5, Frankenstein
 [… ] her temper was fluctuating; joy for a few instants shone in her eyes, but it continually gave place to distraction and reverie.
1850, Charles Dickens, , Chapter 29, David Copperfield
 ‘You should be careful not to irritate her, James. Her temper has been soured, remember, and ought not to be tried.’ 1950, Nevil Shute, , London: Heinemann, 1952, Chapter 3, p. 94, A Town Like Alice
 She bowed to him, to put him in a good temper. A tendency to become
to have a hasty temper He has quite a temper when dealing with salespeople.
1909, Lucy Maud Montgomery, , Chapter 3, Anne of Avonlea
 “I guess you’ve got a spice of temper,” commented Mr. Harrison, surveying the flushed cheeks and indignant eyes opposite him.
1958, Graham Greene, , Penguin, 1969, Chapter 5, Our Man in Havana
 ‘What a
temper you’ve got, Wormold.’ ‘I’m sorry. Drink takes me that way.’ 2013, J. M. Coetzee, , London: Harvill Secker, Chapter 28, p. 251, The Childhood of Jesus
 His criticism of Inés makes him bristle. Nonetheless, he holds his temper in check.
Anger; a fit of anger.
an outburst of temper
1919, Henry Blake Fuller, , Chapter 28, Bertram Cope’s Year
 Hortense remained for several days in a condition of sullen anger—she was a cloud lit up by occasional unaccountable flashes of temper.
1953, C. S. Lewis, , London: Geoffrey Bles, 1965, Chapter 1, The Silver Chair
 Jill suddenly flew into a temper (which is quite a likely thing to happen if you have been interrupted in a cry). 1999, Colm Tóibín, , New York: Scribner, Chapter 4, p. 110, The Blackwater Lightship
 [… ] she banged the door as she left as though in temper and walked to her car.
Calmness of mind; moderation; equanimity; composure.
to keep one's temper; to lose one's temper; to recover one's temper
1611, Ben Jonson, , London: Walter Burre, Act IV, Catiline His Conspiracy
 Restore your selues, vnto your
temper, Fathers; And, without perturbation, heare me speake:
1734, [ Alexander Pope], , epistle IV, London: Printed for An Essay on Man. [ … ] J[ohn] Wilford, [ … ] , , lines 372–373, OCLC 960856019 page 79: Teach me like thee, in various Nature wiſe, / To fall with Dignity, with Temper riſe; [...]
1819, Walter Scott, , Chapter 22, The Bride of Lammermoor
 “And I think, madam,” said the Lord Keeper, losing his accustomed temper and patience, “that if you had nothing better to tell us, you had better have kept this family secret to yourself also.”
1857, Anthony Trollope, , Chapter 19, Barchester Towers
 [… ] her temper was rarely ruffled, and, if we might judge by her appearance, she was always happy. 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 8, in : Mr. Pratt's Patients Afore we got to the shanty Colonel Applegate stuck his head out of the door. His temper had been getting raggeder all the time, and the sousing he got when he fell overboard had just about ripped what was left of it to ravellings.
( obsolete ) Constitution of body; the mixture or relative proportion of the four humours: blood, choler, phlegm, and melancholy.
1650, Thomas Fuller, A Pisgah-Sight of Palestine and the Confines Thereof, London: John Williams, Book 3, Chapter 12, p. 345,
 [… ] it is hard to say, whether [Christ’s] pain was more shamefull, or his shame more painfull unto him: the exquisiteness of his bodily temper, increasing the exquisiteness of his torment, and the ingenuity of his Soul, adding to his sensibleness of the indignities and affronts offered until him. Middle state or course; mean; medium.
1848, Thomas Babington Macaulay, , Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1849, Volume 3, Chapter 11, p. 86, The History of England from the Accession of James the Second
 The perfect lawgiver is a just temper between the mere man of theory, who can see nothing but general principles, and the mere man of business, who can see nothing but particular circumstances. The state of any compound substance which results from the mixture of various ingredients; due mixture of different qualities.
the temper of mortar The
heat treatment to which a metal or other material has been subjected; a material that has undergone a particular heat treatment. The state of a metal or other substance, especially as to its hardness, produced by some process of heating or cooling.
the temper of iron or steel c. 1591, William Shakespeare, , Act II, Scene 4, Henry VI, Part 1
 Between two blades, which bears the better
temper: [… ] I have perhaps some shallow spirit of judgement;
But in these nice sharp quillets of the law,
Good faith, I am no wiser than a daw. ( sugar manufacture , historical ) Milk of lime, or other substance, employed in the process formerly used to clarify sugar.
1803, John Browne Cutting, “A Succinct History of Jamaica” in Robert Charles Dallas, The History of the Maroons, London: Longman and Rees, Volume 1, pp. xciv-xcv,
 All cane juice is liable to rapid fermentation. As soon, therefore, as the clarifier is filled, the fire is lighted, and the temper (white lime of Bristol) is stirred into it. The alkali of the lime having neutralized its superabundant acid, a part of it becomes the basis of the sugar.
Synonyms [ edit ]
Coordinate terms [ edit ]
Derived terms [ edit ]
Related terms [ edit ]
Translations [ edit ]
tendency to be of a certain type of mood
calmness of mind; moderation; equanimity; composure
temper ( third-person singular simple present , tempers present participle , tempering simple past and past participle )
moderate or control.
Temper your language around children. 1963 June, “Second thoughts on Beeching”, in Modern Railways, page 361: It is all very well tempering enthusiasm for the Report in most of its particulars, as the thinking press has since the debate, [...]. To strengthen or toughen a material, especially metal, by heat treatment;
Tempering is a heat treatment technique applied to metals, alloys, and glass to achieve greater toughness by increasing the strength of materials and/or ductility. Tempering is performed by a controlled reheating of the work piece to a temperature below its lower eutectic critical temperature.
The temper'd metals clash, and yield a silver sound. To
sauté spices in ghee or oil to release essential oils for flavouring a dish in South Asian cuisine. To
mix clay, plaster or mortar with water to obtain the proper consistency.
( music ) To adjust, as the mathematical scale to the actual scale, or to that in actual use.
( obsolete , Latinism ) To govern; to manage.
( archaic ) To combine in due proportions; to constitute; to compose.
1610, , by The Tempest Shakespeare, act 3 scene 3
You fools! I and my fellows
Are ministers of fate: the elements
Of whom your swords are
temper'd may as well Wound the loud winds, or with bemock'd-at stabs
Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish
One dowle that's in my plume; [… ]
( archaic ) To mingle in due proportion; to prepare by combining; to modify, as by adding some new element; to qualify, as by an ingredient; hence, to soften; to mollify; to assuage.
1839, George Bancroft, History of the United States of America Volume 2
Puritan austerity was so tempered by Dutch indifference, that mercy itself could not have dictated a milder system.
1682 (first performance), Thomas Otway,
Venice Preserv'd Woman! lovely woman! nature made thee / To temper man: we had been brutes without you.
1812-1818, Lord Byron,
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage But thy fire / Shall be more tempered, and thy hope far higher. 1709, Joseph Addison, The Tatler No. 100
She [the Goddess of Justice] threw darkness and clouds about her, that tempered the light into a thousand beautiful shades and colours. ( obsolete ) To fit together; to adjust; to accommodate.
Derived terms [ edit ]
Translations [ edit ]
to moderate or control
temperar , (gl) regular (gl) German:
mäßigen (de) Portuguese:
temperar , (pt) moderar , (pt) regular , (pt) controlar (pt) Romanian:
tempera , (ro) modera , (ro) regula (ro) Russian:
умеря́ть (ru) impf ( umerjátʹ ), уме́рить (ru) pf ( uméritʹ ) Spanish:
templar , (es) temperar , (es) atemperar (es) Swedish: mildra , (sv) dämpa (sv)
to strengthen or toughen by heat treatment
to mix with water to obtain proper consistency
Further reading [ edit ]
Anagrams [ edit ]