Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


[tem-per-uh ns, tem-pruh ns] /ˈtɛm pər əns, ˈtɛm prəns/
moderation or self-restraint in action, statement, etc.; self-control.
habitual moderation in the indulgence of a natural appetite or passion, especially in the use of alcoholic liquors.
total abstinence from alcoholic liquors.
Origin of temperance
1200-50; Middle English temperaunce < Anglo-French < Latin temperantia self-control. See temper, -ance
Related forms
antitemperance, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for temperance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Evangelistic efforts, the relief of the sick and poor, and the inculcation of temperance are zealously carried on.

  • Certainly, he said, that is the true account of temperance whether in the State or individual.

    The Republic Plato
  • For the courage and temperance of other men, if you will consider them, are really a contradiction.

    Phaedo Plato
  • Nothing is said of the pre-existence of ideas of justice, temperance, and the like.

    Meno Plato
  • Our temperance brethren, particularly our worthy Washingtonians, will do well to bear this in mind.

  • For I say that justice, temperance, and the like, are all of them parts of virtue as well as courage.

    Laches Plato
  • As to its extent, it should be such as may enable the inhabitants to live at their ease with freedom and temperance.

    Politics Aristotle
  • The answer is that temperance is the knowledge of what a man knows and of what he does not know.

    Charmides Plato
British Dictionary definitions for temperance


restraint or moderation, esp in yielding to one's appetites or desires
abstinence from alcoholic drink
Word Origin
C14: from Latin temperantia, from temperāre to regulate
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for temperance

mid-14c., "self-restraint, moderation," from Anglo-French temperaunce (mid-13c.), from Latin temperantia "moderation," from temperans, present participle of temperare "to moderate" (see temper). Latin temperantia was used by Cicero to translate Greek sophrosyne "moderation." In English, temperance was used to render Latin continentia or abstinentia, specifically in reference to drinking alcohol and eating; hence by early 1800s it came to mean "abstinence from alcoholic drink."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
temperance in Medicine

temperance tem·per·ance (těm'pər-əns, těm'prəns)

  1. Moderation and self-restraint, as in behavior or expression.

  2. Restraint in the use of or abstinence from alcoholic liquors.

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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for temperance

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for temperance

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for temperance