- 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.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
Origin of temper
Synonyms for temper
- 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)
Word Origin for temper
late 14c., "due proportion of elements or qualities," from temper (v.). The sense of "characteristic state of mind" is first recorded 1590s; that of "calm state of mind" in c.1600; and that of "angry state of mind" (for bad temper) in 1828. Meaning "degree of hardness and resiliency in steel" is from late 15c.
late Old English temprian "to bring to a proper or suitable state, to modify some excessive quality, to restrain within due limits," from Latin temperare "to mix correctly, moderate, regulate, blend," usually described as from tempus "time, season" (see temporal), with a sense of "proper time or season," but the sense history is obscure. Meaning "to make (steel) hard and elastic" is from late 14c. Sense of "to tune the pitch of a musical instrument" is recorded from c.1300. Related: Tempered; tempering.
see hold one's temper; lose one's temper.