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Borrowed from Latin temperatus, past participle of temperare (moderate, forbear, combine properly). See temper. Displaced native Old English ġemetegod.


  • IPA(key): /ˈtɛmpəɹət/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: temp‧pe‧rate


temperate (comparative more temperate, superlative most temperate)

  1. Moderate; not excessive
    temperate heat
    a temperate climate.
    • 1992, Rudolf M[athias] Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page vii:
      Hepaticology, outside the temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere, still lies deep in the shadow cast by that ultimate "closet taxonomist," Franz Stephani—a ghost whose shadow falls over us all.
    • c. 1590–1592 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i]:
      She is not hot, but temperate as the morn.
    • 1855, Alfred Tennyson, “(please specify the page number(s))”, in Maud, and Other Poems, London: Edward Moxon, [], →OCLC:
      That sober freedom out of which there springs Our loyal passion for our temperate kings.
  2. Moderate in the indulgence of the natural appetites or passions
    temperate in eating and drinking.
    • August 9, 1768, Benjamin Franklin, To John Alleyne, Esq. On Early Marriages
      Be sober and temperate, and you will be healthy.
    • 1915, G[eorge] A. Birmingham [pseudonym; James Owen Hannay], chapter I, in Gossamer, New York, N.Y.: George H. Doran Company, →OCLC, pages 14–15:
      I am a temperate man and have made it a rule not to drink before luncheon. But I was so much ashamed of my first feeling about Gorman that I thought it well to break my rule. [] I gave my vote for whisky and soda as the more thorough-going drink of the two. A cocktail is seldom more than a mouthful.
  3. Proceeding from temperance.
  4. Living in an environment that is temperate, not extreme.
    temperate fishes


Derived terms[edit]

  • (geology) temperate zone, that part of the earth which lies between either tropic and the corresponding polar circle; -- so called because the heat is less than in the torrid zone, and the cold less than in the frigid zones.

Related terms[edit]


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temperate (third-person singular simple present temperates, present participle temperating, simple past and past participle temperated)

  1. (obsolete) To render temperate; to moderate
    Synonyms: soften, temper
    • 1613, John Marston, The Insatiate Countess:
      It inflames temperance, and temp'rates wrath.





Etymology 1[edit]



  1. inflection of temperare:
    1. second-person plural present indicative
    2. second-person plural imperative

Etymology 2[edit]


temperate f pl

  1. feminine plural of temperato




  1. second-person plural present active imperative of temperō


  • temperate”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • temperate”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers




  1. second-person singular voseo imperative of temperar combined with te