a plural of tempo.
Dictionary.com Unabridged


noun, plural tempos, tempi [tem-pee] .
Music. relative rapidity or rate of movement, usually indicated by such terms as adagio, allegro, etc., or by reference to the metronome.
characteristic rate, rhythm, or pattern of work or activity: the tempo of city life.
Chess. the gaining or losing of time and effectiveness relative to one's continued mobility or developing position, especially with respect to the number of moves required to gain an objective: Black gained a tempo.

1680–90; < Italian < Latin tempus time

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To tempi
World English Dictionary
tempi (ˈtɛmpiː)
(in musical senses) the plural of tempo

tempo (ˈtɛmpəʊ)
n , pl -pos, -pi
1.  the speed at which a piece or passage of music is meant to be played, usually indicated by a musical direction (tempo marking) or metronome marking
2.  rate or pace
[C18: from Italian, from Latin tempus time]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

"relative speed of a piece of music," 1724, from It. tempo, lit. "time" (pl. tempi), from L. tempus (gen. temporis) "time." Extended to non-musical senses 1898.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

tempo definition

In music, the speed at which a piece is performed. It is the Italian word for “time.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Finds that college music majors and graduate students perceived faster rates of presentation as subdivisions of slower beat tempi.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature