[tem-per-uh-muhnt, -pruh-muhnt, -per-muhnt]


the combination of mental, physical, and emotional traits of a person; natural predisposition.
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.
(old physiology) the combination of the four cardinal humors, the relative proportions of which were supposed to determine physical and mental constitution.
  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.
Archaic. an act of tempering or moderating.
Archaic. climate.

Nearby words

  1. tempelhof,
  2. temper,
  3. temper color,
  4. temper tantrum,
  5. tempera,
  6. temperamental,
  7. temperamentally,
  8. temperance,
  9. temperate,
  10. temperate bacteriophage

Origin of temperament

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

Synonym study

1. See disposition.

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

Examples from the Web for temperament

British Dictionary definitions for temperament



an individual's character, disposition, and tendencies as revealed in his reactions
excitability, moodiness, or anger, esp when displayed openlyan actress with temperament
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
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)
archaic compromise or adjustment
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

Medicine definitions for temperament


[tĕmprə-mənt, tĕmpər-ə-]


The manner of thinking, behaving, or reacting characteristic of a specific person.
Disposition; temper.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.