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[tem-per-uh-muh nt, -pruh-muh nt, -per-muh nt] /ˈtɛm pər ə mənt, -prə mənt, -pər mənt/
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.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin temperāmentum due mixture, equivalent to temperā(re) to mix properly + -mentum -ment
1. nature, makeup. See disposition. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for temperaments
  • But beautiful voices were often accompanied by mercurial temperaments.
  • In those with more positive temperaments the activity occurred in the left prefrontal cortex instead.
  • If that's true, put it down to the happy meshing of their temperaments.
  • The two creatures also have vastly different temperaments.
  • They are serene in disposition and have even temperaments.
  • Service animals are highly trained dogs with calm temperaments.
  • But beyond these similarities of character there is room enough for the display of different temperaments and personal talents.
  • There are other essential differences in the temperaments and attributes required in academic administration.
  • The talents and temperaments are different, and the views of what stories and poems are also tend to differ pretty strongly.
  • Their different temperaments and trajectories may account for their varying responses to their predicament.
British Dictionary definitions for temperaments


/ˈtɛmpərəmənt; -prəmənt/
an individual's character, disposition, and tendencies as revealed in his reactions
excitability, moodiness, or anger, esp when displayed openly: an actress with temperament
the characteristic way an individual behaves, esp towards other people See 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 semitones See 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
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
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Word Origin and History for temperaments



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
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temperaments in Medicine

temperament tem·per·a·ment (těm'prə-mənt, těm'pər-ə-)

  1. The manner of thinking, behaving, or reacting characteristic of a specific person.

  2. Disposition; temper.

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