Definition of temperament in English:


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  • 1A person's or animal's nature, especially as it permanently affects their behavior.

    ‘she had an artistic temperament’
    • ‘One's diet for example, can affect the body's temperaments and thus influence ones's intellectual moral character.’
    • ‘Planetary characteristics are defined by these humoural temperaments where, as in nature, warmth and moisture promote health and vitality whilst cold and dryness are conducive to decay.’
    • ‘In Hinduism you have many deities with various temperaments and nature, so you have the luxury of choosing and bonding with the deity which suits your nature.’
    • ‘She wrote at length on the four humours and on the temperaments of people according to the phase of the Moon in which they were conceived.’
    • ‘But this is a temperament election, and neither of these people have temperaments that are frightening, and I think that's the key.’
    • ‘With so many artistic temperaments involved, it was surprising that the festivals remained so free of cultural clashes.’
    • ‘Malls have temperaments and personalities and strange tribal auras; when you enter some malls you get the feeling right away that this is not your place.’
    • ‘It's learning, for example, to live in community with people of very different temperaments and talents and outlooks and personalities.’
    • ‘Some of these methods are still used today, particularly the concepts of balancing out the four elements, nine temperaments and four humours that make up the human body.’
    • ‘The means toward attaining those goals, however, are as varied as our political views, socioeconomic background and individual temperaments.’
    • ‘It sorts people into four temperaments: idealists, rationals, artisans, and guardians.’
    • ‘In addition, staff personalities and temperaments could have impacted parental knowledge gain.’
    • ‘His design skills and my publishing experience helped balance our individual roles and temperaments.’
    • ‘Therapy included a discussion of complementary styles and temperaments.’
    • ‘Back in the days of the four humors, people had no problem believing that temperaments emerged from the balance, or imbalance, of chemicals in the body.’
    • ‘They must be able to adapt to the different artistic requirements and temperaments of classical, jazz and pop musicians.’
    • ‘Not all temperaments suit a collegial environment: not all people are able to attend a course.’
    • ‘It is shaped by our own temperaments and personalities that incline us to behave in certain ways, which, in turn, shape how others react to us.’
    • ‘Campers' temperaments vary, from easy to difficult, persistent to inattentive, outgoing to withdrawn.’
    • ‘Healthy human contact and a spacious, more natural living environment improves their temperaments tremendously.’
    disposition, nature, character, personality, make-up, constitution, complexion, temper, mind, spirit, stamp, mettle, mould
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    1. 1.1The tendency to behave angrily or emotionally.
      ‘he had begun to show signs of temperament’
      • ‘Women with the aspect often have an excessively emotional temperament.’
      • ‘His emotional and dramatic temperament is well suited to the imaginative and affective dimensions of Ignatian prayer.’
      • ‘But his volatile temperament sometimes landed him in serious trouble with the authorities.’
      • ‘All other fairies were nice, but I would like to see more temperament in every character.’
      • ‘Actually, it is not the Englishman's performances that will be closely examined, but signs that he is managing to keep his suspect temperament in check.’
      • ‘He then embarked upon a legal career which was characterised by often brilliant legal exposition, and mercurial temperament.’
      • ‘Autocratic rages and selfish bursts of temperament seem not to have been in his repertoire.’
      • ‘At what age do signs of temperament emerge?’
      • ‘"Ross showed signs of temperament early on," reports John.’
      volatility, excitability, emotionalism, mercurialness, capriciousness, hot-headedness, quick-temperedness, hot-temperedness, irritability, impatience, petulance
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  • 2The adjustment of intervals in tuning a piano or other musical instrument so as to fit the scale for use in different keys; in equal temperament, the octave consists of twelve equal semitones.

    ‘this temperament became standard tuning for all the new organs’
    • ‘The whole topic of temperament and tuning is sensibly presented, and there are even hints on the purchase and care of instruments.’
    • ‘In this equal temperament system of tuning, the frequencies of notes on a keyboard are related by a fairly simple mathematical relationship involving the number of keys (half-steps) between the notes.’
    • ‘The middle octave on the piano is shown as a standard example of equal temperament.’



/ˈtemp(ə)rəm(ə)nt/ /ˈtɛmp(ə)rəm(ə)nt/


Late Middle English from Latin temperamentum ‘correct mixture’, from temperare ‘mingle’. In early use the word was synonymous with the noun temper.