verb (used without object), ex·tem·po·rized, ex·tem·po·riz·ing.

to speak extemporaneously: He can extemporize on any of a number of subjects.
to sing, or play on an instrument, composing the music as one proceeds; improvise.
to do or manage something in a makeshift way.

verb (used with object), ex·tem·po·rized, ex·tem·po·riz·ing.

to make or devise extempore.
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. 2019

Examples from the Web for extemporize

Historical Examples of extemporize

  • He could not read or write, but he was wise, And knew right smart how to extemporize.

  • Being a victim of the unforeseen, no choice remains to me; I must extemporize.

  • They could extemporize board and men, but how to raise the bits of ivory?

    Bits of Blarney

    R. Shelton Mackenzie

  • I used to learn the songs by heart and invent and extemporize tunes for them.

    My Boyhood

    John Burroughs

  • If you extemporize you can get much closer to your audience.

    The Art of Public Speaking

    Dale Carnagey (AKA Dale Carnegie) and J. Berg Esenwein

British Dictionary definitions for extemporize




to perform, speak, or compose (an act, speech, piece of music, etc) without planning or preparation
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 extemporize

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper