[tem-per-uh-muhnt, -pruh-muhnt, -per-muhnt]
See more synonyms for temperament on Thesaurus.com
  1. the combination of mental, physical, and emotional traits of a person; natural predisposition.
  2. unusual personal attitude or nature as manifested by peculiarities of feeling, temper, action, etc., often with a disinclination to submit to conventional rules or restraints.
  3. (old physiology) the combination of the four cardinal humors, the relative proportions of which were supposed to determine physical and mental constitution.
  4. Music.
    1. the tuning of a keyboard instrument, as the piano, organ, or harpsichord, so that the instrument may be played in all keys without further tuning.
    2. a particular system of doing this.
  5. Archaic. an act of tempering or moderating.
  6. Archaic. climate.

Origin of temperament

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin temperāmentum due mixture, equivalent to temperā(re) to mix properly + -mentum -ment

Synonyms for temperament

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Synonym study

1. See disposition.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for temperament

Contemporary Examples of temperament

Historical Examples of temperament

  • Their tone came of temperament, the words themselves of love and its courage.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • "Temperament is a peculiar thing," Mr. Cream said as they ascended the stairs.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • It was, perhaps, in some measure a matter of temperament with her; but it was also a matter of education.

  • If I had, I know that one of my temperament could not have escaped serious consequences.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • Woman is by her temperament inclined to do too much or to do nothing.

    The Truth About Woman

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

British Dictionary definitions for temperament


  1. an individual's character, disposition, and tendencies as revealed in his reactions
  2. excitability, moodiness, or anger, esp when displayed openlyan actress with temperament
  3. the characteristic way an individual behaves, esp towards other peopleSee also character, personality
    1. an adjustment made to the frequency differences between notes on a keyboard instrument to allow modulation to other keys
    2. any of several systems of such adjustment, such as just temperament, a system not practically possible on keyboard instruments, mean-tone temperament, a system giving an approximation to natural tuning, and equal temperament, the system commonly used in keyboard instruments, giving a scale based on an octave divided into twelve exactly equal semitonesSee also just intonation
  4. obsolete the characteristic way an individual behaves, viewed as the result of the influence of the four humours (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile)
  5. archaic compromise or adjustment
  6. an obsolete word for temperature

Word Origin for temperament

C15: from Latin temperāmentum a mixing in proportion, from temperāre to temper
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 temperament

early 15c., "proportioned mixture of elements," from Latin temperamentum "proper mixture," from temperare "to mix" (see temper). In medieval theory, it meant a combination of qualities (hot, cold, moist, dry) that determined the nature of an organism; this was extended to a combination of the four humors (sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and melancholic) that made up a person's characteristic disposition. General sense of "habit of mind, natural disposition" is from 1821.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

temperament in Medicine


[tĕmprə-mənt, tĕmpər-ə-]
  1. The manner of thinking, behaving, or reacting characteristic of a specific person.
  2. Disposition; temper.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.