verb (used without object), ex·tem·po·rized, ex·tem·po·riz·ing.
  1. to speak extemporaneously: He can extemporize on any of a number of subjects.
  2. to sing, or play on an instrument, composing the music as one proceeds; improvise.
  3. to do or manage something in a makeshift way.
verb (used with object), ex·tem·po·rized, ex·tem·po·riz·ing.
  1. to make or devise extempore.
  2. Music. to compose offhand; improvise.
Also especially British, ex·tem·po·rise.

Origin of extemporize

First recorded in 1635–45; extempore + -ize
Related formsex·tem·po·ri·za·tion, nounex·tem·po·riz·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for extemporise

Historical Examples of extemporise

  • There was no bed from which to take the sheets and blankets to extemporise a rope.

    Charlie to the Rescue

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • As I crossed the floor I tried to extemporise a prayer, but stopped short to listen, and never finished it.

  • Lots of your fellow-passengers will have to camp out under any shelter they can extemporise.


    Rolf Boldrewood

  • But national spirit could not extemporise a fleet or produce trained officers and sailors to match the conquerors of Lepanto.

  • More than this, in one corner still lay some of the wraps which he had evidently used to extemporise a bed.

British Dictionary definitions for extemporise



  1. to perform, speak, or compose (an act, speech, piece of music, etc) without planning or preparation
  2. to use (a temporary solution) for an immediate need; improvise
Derived Formsextemporization or extemporisation, nounextemporizer or extemporiser, noun
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 extemporise



1640s (implied in extemporizing), "to speak ex tempore;" see extempore + -ize. Related: Extemporized.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper