• synonyms


[tem-puh l]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
  1. an edifice or place dedicated to the service or worship of a deity or deities.
  2. (usually initial capital letter) any of the three successive houses of worship in Jerusalem in use by the Jews in Biblical times, the first built by Solomon, the second by Zerubbabel, and the third by Herod.
  3. a synagogue, usually a Reform or Conservative one.
  4. an edifice erected as a place of public worship; a church, especially a large or imposing one.
  5. any place or object in which God dwells, as the body of a Christian. I Cor. 6:19.
  6. (in France) a Protestant church.
  7. (in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) a building devoted to administering sacred ordinances, principally that of eternal marriage.
  8. a building, usually large or pretentious, devoted to some public use: a temple of music.
  9. (initial capital letter) either of two establishments of the medieval Templars, one in London and the other in Paris.
  10. (initial capital letter) either of two groups of buildings (Inner Temple and Middle Temple) on the site of the Templars' former establishment in London, occupied by two of the Inns of Court.
  11. a building used by the Templars in the U.S.
  12. a building used by any of various fraternal orders.

Origin of temple1

before 900; Middle English, variant of tempel, Old English < Latin templum space demarcated by an augur for taking auspices, temple
Related formstem·pled, adjectivetem·ple·like, adjectiveun·tem·pled, adjective


[tem-puh l]
  1. Anatomy. the flattened region on either side of the forehead in human beings.
  2. Zoology. a corresponding region in certain animals.
  3. Ophthalmology. either of the sidepieces of a pair of eyeglasses extending back above and often around the ears.

Origin of temple2

1275–1325; Middle English < Middle French < Vulgar Latin *tempula, for Latin tempora the temples, plural (taken as feminine singular) of tempus temple


[tem-puh l]
  1. a device in a loom for keeping the cloth stretched to the proper width during the weaving.

Origin of temple3

1475–85; earlier tempylle < Middle French temple < Latin templum purlin, small piece of timber. See temple1


[tem-puh l]
  1. ShirleyShirley Temple Black, 1928–2014, U.S. film actress, famous for child roles during the 1930s, and diplomat.
  2. Sir William,1628–99, English essayist and diplomat.
  3. a city in central Texas.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for temple

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • She helped Geta to escape: they have both taken refuge in the Temple of Theseus.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • The child was preserved, and brought up in the temple of Phœbus.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • "And I will have the stone from the temple," cried Hordle John.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • But his head was whirling round, the blood was gushing from his brow, his temple, his mouth.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Priestess of the Corn,' she called toward the temple, 'do you also mislead the people?'

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

British Dictionary definitions for temple


  1. a building or place dedicated to the worship of a deity or deities
  2. a Mormon church
  3. US another name for a synagogue
  4. any Christian church, esp a large or imposing one
  5. any place or object regarded as a shrine where God makes himself present, esp the body of a person who has been sanctified or saved by grace
  6. a building regarded as the focus of an activity, interest, or practicea temple of the arts
Derived Formstempled, adjectivetemple-like, adjective

Word Origin

Old English tempel, from Latin templum; probably related to Latin tempus time, Greek temenos sacred enclosure, literally: a place cut off, from temnein to cut


  1. the region on each side of the head in front of the ear and above the cheek boneRelated adjective: temporal

Word Origin

C14: from Old French temple, from Latin tempora the temples, from tempus temple of the head


  1. the part of a loom that keeps the cloth being woven stretched to the correct width

Word Origin

C15: from French, from Latin templum a small timber


  1. either of two buildings in London and Paris that belonged to the Templars. The one in London now houses two of the chief law societies
  2. any of three buildings or groups of buildings erected by the Jews in ancient Jerusalem for the worship of Jehovah


  1. Shirley, married name Shirley Temple Black. born 1928, US film actress and politician. Her films as a child star include Little Miss Marker (1934), Wee Willie Winkie (1937), and Heidi (1937). She was US ambassador to Ghana (1974–76) and to Czechoslovakia (1989–92)
  2. Sir William. 1628–99, English diplomat and essayist. He negotiated the Triple Alliance (1668) and the marriage of William of Orange to Mary II
  3. William. 1881–1944, English prelate and advocate of social reform; archbishop of Canterbury (1942–44)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for temple


"building for worship," Old English tempel, from Latin templum "piece of ground consecrated for the taking of auspices, building for worship," of uncertain signification. Commonly referred either to PIE root *tem- "to cut," on notion of "place reserved or cut out," or to PIE root *temp- "to stretch," on notion of cleared space in front of an altar. Figurative sense of "any place regarded as occupied by divine presence" was in Old English. Applied to Jewish synagogues from 1590s.


"side of the forehead," early 14c., from Old French temple "side of the forehead" (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *tempula (feminine singular), from Latin tempora, plural of tempus (genitive temporis) "side of the forehead," probably originally "the thin stretch of skin at the side of the forehead." Possibly associated with tempus span "timely space (for a mortal blow with a sword)," or from the notion of "stretched, thinnest part," which is the sense of cognate Old English ðunwange, literally "thin cheek."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

temple in Medicine


  1. The flat region on either side of the forehead.
  2. Either of the sidepieces of a frame for eyeglasses that extends along the temple and over the ear.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

temple in Culture


The central place of worship for the Israelites. The first Temple was built in Jerusalem (see also Jerusalem) by King Solomon. The stone tablets received by Moses on Mount Sinai — tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written — were kept in the central chamber of Solomon's Temple. Solomon's Temple was later destroyed, as were two succeeding temples built on the site.


A wall remaining from the temples, known as the Western Wall, is one of the most sacred places for Jews (see also Jews) today.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.