transitive verb tem·per \ˈtem-pər\

: to make (something) less severe or extreme

: to cause (something, such as steel or glass) to become hard or strong by heating it and cooling it

tem·peredtem·per·ing \-p(ə-)riŋ\

Full Definition of TEMPER

:  to dilute, qualify, or soften by the addition or influence of something else :  moderate <temper justice with mercy>
a :  to exercise control over :  govern, restrain
b :  to cause to be well disposed :  mollify <tempered and reconciled them both — Richard Steele>
:  to bring to a suitable state by mixing in or adding a usually liquid ingredient: as
a :  to mix (clay) with water or a modifier (as grog) and knead to a uniform texture
b :  to mix oil with (colors) in making paint ready for use
a (1) :  to soften (as hardened steel or cast iron) by reheating at a lower temperature (2) :  to harden (as steel) by reheating and cooling in oil
b :  to anneal or toughen (glass) by a process of gradually heating and cooling
:  to make stronger and more resilient through hardship :  toughen <troops tempered in battle>
a :  to put in tune with something :  attune
b :  to adjust the pitch of (a note, chord, or instrument) to a temperament
tem·per·able \-p(ə-)rə-bəl\ adjective
tem·per·er \-pər-ər\ noun

Examples of TEMPER

  1. The steel must be properly tempered.

Origin of TEMPER

Middle English, from Old English & Anglo-French; Old English temprian & Anglo-French temprer, from Latin temperare to moderate, mix, temper; probably akin to Latin tempor-, tempus time
First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Handicraft Terms

biscuit, darn, tambour, wrought



: the tendency of someone to become angry

: a state of being angry

: calmness of mind

Full Definition of TEMPER

a archaic :  a suitable proportion or balance of qualities :  a middle state between extremes :  mean, medium <virtue is…a just temper between propensities — T. B. Macaulay>
b archaic :  character, quality <the temper of the land you design to sow — John Mortimer>
c :  characteristic tone :  trend <the temper of the times>
d :  high quality of mind or spirit :  courage
a :  the state of a substance with respect to certain desired qualities (as hardness, elasticity, or workability); especially :  the degree of hardness or resiliency given steel by tempering
b :  the feel and relative solidity of leather
a :  a characteristic cast of mind or state of feeling :  disposition
b :  calmness of mind :  composure
c :  state of feeling or frame of mind at a particular time usually dominated by a single strong emotion
d :  heat of mind or emotion :  proneness to anger :  passion <she has a real temper>
:  a substance (as a metal) added to or mixed with something else (as another metal) to modify the properties of the latter

Examples of TEMPER

  1. She has a bad temper.
  2. That boy has quite a temper.
  3. He needs to learn to control his temper.
  4. She hit him in a fit of temper.
  5. He slammed the door and left in a temper.
  6. It's often difficult for parents not to lose their tempers.
  7. He is in a pleasant temper.

First Known Use of TEMPER

14th century

Other Metals and Metallurgy Terms

assay, bloom, bullion, ductile, ingot, malleable, patina, plate, tensile


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