[ tem-per ]
See synonyms for: tempertemperedtempering on Thesaurus.com

  1. a particular state of mind or feelings.

  2. habit of mind, especially with respect to irritability or patience, outbursts of anger, or the like; disposition: an even temper.

  1. heat of mind or passion, shown in outbursts of anger, resentment, etc.

  2. calm disposition or state of mind: to be out of temper.

  3. a substance added to something to modify its properties or qualities.

  4. Metallurgy.

    • the degree of hardness and strength imparted to a metal, as by quenching, heat treatment, or cold working.

    • the percentage of carbon in tool steel.

    • the operation of tempering.

  5. Archaic. a middle course; compromise.

  6. Obsolete. the constitution or character of a substance.

verb (used with object)
  1. to moderate or mitigate: to temper justice with mercy.

  2. to soften or tone down.

  1. to bring to a proper, suitable, or desirable state by or as by blending or admixture.

  2. to moisten, mix, and work up into proper consistency, as clay or mortar.

  3. Metallurgy. to impart strength or toughness to (steel or cast iron) by heating and cooling.

  4. to produce internal stresses in (glass) by sudden cooling from low red heat; toughen.

  5. to tune (a keyboard instrument, as a piano, organ, or harpsichord) so as to make the tones available in different keys or tonalities.

  6. to modify (color) by mixing with a medium.

  7. Archaic. to combine or blend in due proportions.

  8. Archaic. to pacify.

verb (used without object)
  1. to be or become tempered.

Origin of temper

before 1000; (v.) Middle English tempren,Old English temprian<Latin temperāre to divide or proportion duly, temper; (noun) Middle English: proportion, derivative of the v.

synonym study For temper

1. See disposition. 10. See modify.

Other words for temper

Other words from temper

  • tem·per·a·ble, adjective
  • tem·per·a·bil·i·ty, noun
  • tem·per·er, noun
  • non·tem·per·a·ble, adjective
  • re·tem·per, verb (used with object)
  • un·tem·per·a·ble, adjective
  • un·tem·per·ing, adjective

Words Nearby temper

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use temper in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for temper


/ (ˈtɛmpə) /

  1. a frame of mind; mood or humour: a good temper

  2. a sudden outburst of anger; tantrum

  1. a tendency to exhibit uncontrolled anger; irritability

  2. a mental condition of moderation and calm (esp in the phrases keep one's temper, lose one's temper, out of temper)

  3. the degree of hardness, elasticity, or a similar property of a metal or metal object

  1. to make more temperate, acceptable, or suitable by adding something else; moderate: he tempered his criticism with kindly sympathy

  2. to strengthen or toughen (a metal or metal article) by heat treatment, as by heating and quenching

  1. music

    • to adjust the frequency differences between the notes of a scale on (a keyboard instrument) in order to allow modulation into other keys

    • to make such an adjustment to the pitches of notes in (a scale)

  2. a rare word for adapt

  3. an archaic word for mix

Origin of temper

Old English temprian to mingle, (influenced by Old French temprer), from Latin temperāre to mix, probably from tempus time

Derived forms of temper

  • temperable, adjective
  • temperability, noun
  • temperer, 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with temper


see hold one's temper; lose one's temper.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.