Origin of moderate

1350–1400; Middle English moderate (adj.), moderaten (v.) < Latin moderātus (past participle of moderārī to restrain, control), equivalent to moderā- verb stem (see modest) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsmod·er·ate·ly, adverbmod·er·ate·ness, nounnon·mod·er·ate, adjective, nounnon·mod·er·ate·ly, adverbnon·mod·er·ate·ness, nounsem·i·mod·er·ate, adjectivesem·i·mod·er·ate·ly, adverbun·mod·er·at·ed, adjectiveun·mod·er·at·ing, adjective

Synonyms for moderate

Synonym study

1. Moderate, temperate, judicious, reasonable all stress the avoidance of excess—emotional, physical, intellectual, or otherwise. Moderate implies response or behavior that is by nature not excessive: a moderate drinker, a moderate amount of assistance. Temperate, interchangeable with moderate in some general uses, usually stresses the idea of caution, control, or self-restraint: a surprisingly temperate response to the angry challenge. Judicious emphasizes prudence and the exercise of careful judgment: a judicious balance between freedom and restraint; judicious care to offend neither side. Reasonable suggests the imposition or adoption of limits derived from the application of reason or good sense: a reasonable price; a reasonable amount of damages allotted to each claimant. 8. See allay.

Antonyms for moderate

5, 6. radical.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for moderate

Contemporary Examples of moderate

Historical Examples of moderate

  • No doubt it was true, for she would have insisted on moderate cleanliness and comfort.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • But this was moderate, as the Edgware "folly" reached £250,000.

  • What is the approximate temperature for: (a) a moderate oven?

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 1

    Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

  • But it kept ON moderating, and in a precious little while it was 'most too moderate.

    Tom Sawyer Abroad

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • The Sterling loved to be under water, even in moderate weather.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for moderate


adjective (ˈmɒdərɪt, ˈmɒdrɪt)

not extreme or excessive; within due or reasonable limitsmoderate demands
not violent; mild or temperate
of average quality or extentmoderate success

noun (ˈmɒdərɪt, ˈmɒdrɪt)

a person who holds moderate views, esp in politics

verb (ˈmɒdəˌreɪt)

to become or cause to become less extreme or violent
(when intr, often foll by over) to preside over a meeting, discussion, etc
British and NZ to act as an external moderator of the overall standards and marks for (some types of educational assessment)
physics to slow down (neutrons), esp by using a moderator
(tr) to monitor (the conversations in an on-line chatroom) for bad language, inappropriate content, etc
Derived Formsmoderately, adverbmoderateness, nounmoderatism, noun

Word Origin for moderate

C14: from Latin moderātus observing moderation, from moderārī to restrain
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 moderate

late 14c., originally of weather and other physical conditions, from Latin moderatus "within bounds, observing moderation;" figuratively "modest, restrained," past participle of moderari "to regulate, mitigate, restrain, temper, set a measure, keep (something) within measure," related to modus "measure," from PIE *med-es-, from base *med- (see medical (adj.)). The notion is "keeping within due measure." In English, of persons from early 15c.; of opinions from 1640s; of prices from 1904. Related: Moderateness.


early 15c., "to abate excessiveness;" from Latin moderatus, past participle of moderari (see moderate (adj.)). Meaning "to preside over a debate" is first attested 1570s. Related: Moderated; moderating.


"one who holds moderate opinions on controversial subjects," 1794, from moderate (adj.). Related: Moderatism; -moderantism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper