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[tem-puh-rahyz] /ˈtɛm pəˌraɪz/
verb (used without object), temporized, temporizing.
to be indecisive or evasive to gain time or delay acting.
to comply with the time or occasion; yield temporarily or ostensibly to prevailing opinion or circumstances.
to treat or parley so as to gain time (usually followed by with).
to come to terms (usually followed by with).
to effect a compromise (usually followed by between).
Also, especially British, temporise.
Origin of temporize
1570-80; < Medieval Latin temporizāre to hang back, delay, equivalent to Latin tempor- (stem of tempus) time + Medieval Latin -izāre -ize
Related forms
temporization, noun
temporizer, noun
temporizingly, adverb
nontemporizing, adjective
nontemporizingly, adverb
Can be confused
temporalize, temporize.
1. hedge, stall, equivocate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for temporise
Historical Examples
  • But they desired to temporise;—and then how was the enquiry to be made?

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope
  • In vain, according to his wont, did he again attempt to temporise.

    Political Women (Vol. 1 of 2) Sutherland Menzies
  • She began to temporise, hoping to conquer his resistance later.

  • However, it is better to temporise than to risk all and lose all.

    The Bishop's Secret

    Fergus Hume
  • Even then I had to temporise, for he turned impatiently away.

    Charge! George Manville Fenn
  • They alarmed both Howard and James just sufficiently to induce them to temporise.

    Sir Walter Ralegh William Stebbing
  • Mrs. Davenport was at the sore disadvantage of having to temporise.

    The Rubicon E. F. Benson
  • So strong were the forces of Democracy that even he had to temporise and set up a Parliament.

    Meccania Owen Gregory
  • Under the circumstances there was nothing for it but to temporise.

  • It was the word, "temporise," and it came from the Prime Minister.

    The Weavers, Complete Gilbert Parker
British Dictionary definitions for temporise


verb (intransitive)
to delay, act evasively, or protract a discussion, negotiation, etc, esp in order to gain time or effect a compromise
to adapt oneself to the circumstances or occasion, as by temporary or apparent agreement
Derived Forms
temporization, temporisation, noun
temporizer, temporiser, noun
Word Origin
C16: from French temporiser, from Medieval Latin temporizāre, from Latin tempus time
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
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Word Origin and History for temporise



1550s (implied in temporizer), from Middle French temporiser "to pass one's time, wait one's time" (14c.), from Medieval Latin temporizare "pass time," perhaps via Vulgar Latin *temporare "to delay," from Latin tempus (genitive temporis) "time" (see temporal). Related: Temporized; temporizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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