late O.E. temprian "to bring to a proper or suitable state, to modify some excessive quality, to restrain within due limits," from L. temperare "to mix correctly, moderate, regulate, blend," usually described as from tempus "time, season" (of unknown origin), with a sense of "proper time or season," but the sense history is obscure. Meaning "to make (steel) hard and elastic" is from c.1381. Sense of "to tune the pitch of a musical instrument" is recorded from c.1300.
late 14c., "due proportion of elements or qualities," from temper (v.). The sense of "characteristic state of mind" is first recorded 1590s; that of "calm state of mind" in c.1600; and that of "angry state of mind" (for bad temper) in 1828. Meaning "degree of hardness and resiliency in steel" is from late 15c.