Music. relative rapidity or rate of movement, usually indicated by such terms as adagio, allegro, etc., or by reference to the metronome.
characteristic rate, rhythm, or pattern of work or activity: the tempo of city life.
Chess. the gaining or losing of time and effectiveness relative to one's continued mobility or developing position, especially with respect to the number of moves required to gain an objective: Black gained a tempo.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use tempo in a sentence
The basic plan of attack in 2017 was also developed under Obama, although Trump sped up the tempo by changing the rules of engagement.Trump’s ABC News town hall: Four Pinocchios, over and over again | Glenn Kessler | September 16, 2020 | Washington Post
Teammates are able to work together, drafting and setting a tempo up the mountain.
There are other reasons for the tempo change as well, and not just strategic ones.The Pace Of Play Has Never Been Faster In The WNBA | Howard Megdal | August 6, 2020 | FiveThirtyEight
You don’t have to run at every opportunity to win in college basketball19 — 12 of the last 13 non-UNC men’s national champions have sported adjusted tempos that ranked 100 or below — but Williams insists on doing it anyway.Happy Birthday To Roy Williams, The Coach Who Never Changes | Santul Nerkar | July 31, 2020 | FiveThirtyEight
During Williams’s tenure, Carolina has finished in the top 10 in overall adjusted efficiency margin 11 times, and it has played at the fastest tempo among the top 10 nine of those times.Happy Birthday To Roy Williams, The Coach Who Never Changes | Santul Nerkar | July 31, 2020 | FiveThirtyEight
Two minutes later, Crown and his brother pulled up to the hospital in their sister’s ‘85 Ford tempo.Idaho Woman Who Gave Birth on Highway: ‘I Had to Pull My Pants Down to Get the Baby Out’ | Dale Eisinger | July 10, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
I realized quite early on that it would be different in that respect—a slower tempo.La Roux Discusses New Album ‘Trouble in Paradise,’ the 5-Year Gap, and Embracing Her Androgyny | Marlow Stern | July 6, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Turn Up the TunesStudies have found that up-tempo music can make you feel more energetic and put you in a better mood.
At the same time, it has escalated the tempo of aerial bombardment and resumed its scorched earth campaign against civilians.Satellites Correctly Predict Military Campaign Against Civilians in Sudan | Akshaya Kumar | December 9, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Rather it is the time to increase the size and tempo of guerrilla attacks even through the coming, bitterly cold Afghan winter.Taliban’s Quetta Shura Meet in Islamabad to Press for Peace | Ron Moreau | November 1, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
I don't play anything up to tempo under her—always slow, slow, slow.Music-Study in Germany | Amy Fay
The “Bullier” orchestra will interest you; they play with a snap and fire and a tempo that is irresistible.The Real Latin Quarter | F. Berkeley Smith
Thus the pitch is treated by him as modern notation treats the tempo, viz.The Modes of Ancient Greek Music | David Binning Monro
Let us try if it is not possible to obtain a clearer notion of this mysterious tempo rubato.Frederick Chopin as a Man and Musician | Frederick Niecks
Above all, however, we have to keep in mind that the tempo rubato is a genus which comprehends numerous species.Frederick Chopin as a Man and Musician | Frederick Niecks
British Dictionary definitions for tempo
the speed at which a piece or passage of music is meant to be played, usually indicated by a musical direction (tempo marking) or metronome marking
rate or pace
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
Cultural definitions for tempo
In music, the speed at which a piece is performed. It is the Italian word for “time.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.