Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Encyclopedia.
v. tem·pered, tem·per·ing, tem·pers
1. To modify by the addition of a moderating element; moderate: "temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom" (Robert H. Jackson). See Synonyms at moderate.
2. To bring to a desired consistency, texture, hardness, or other physical condition by blending, admixing, or kneading: temper clay; paints that had been tempered with oil.
3. To harden or strengthen (metal or glass) by application of heat or by heating and cooling.
4. To strengthen through experience or hardship; toughen: soldiers who had been tempered by combat.
5. Music To adjust (the pitch of an instrument) to a temperament.
To be or become tempered.
1. A state of mind or emotion; disposition: an even temper.
2. Calmness of mind or emotions; composure: lose one's temper.
a. A tendency to become easily angry or irritable: a quick temper.
b. Anger; rage: a fit of temper.
4. A characteristic general quality; tone: heroes who exemplified the medieval temper; the politicized temper of the 1930s.
a. The condition of being tempered.
b. The degree of hardness and elasticity of a metal, chiefly steel, achieved by tempering.
6. A modifying substance or agent added to something else.
7. Archaic A middle course between extremes; a mean.
[Middle English temperen, from Old English temprian, from Latin temperāre, probably from variant of tempus, tempor-, time, season.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.