Simple Definition of temporize
: to avoid making a decision or giving a definite answer in order to have more time
Full Definition of temporize
1 : to act to suit the time or occasion : yield to current or dominant opinion
2 : to draw out discussions or negotiations so as to gain time <you'd have to temporize until you found out how she wanted to be advised — Mary Austin>
Examples of temporize in a sentence
Pressured by voters on both sides of the issue, the congressmen temporized.
Did You Know?
Temporize comes from the Medieval Latin verb temporizare ("to pass the time"), which itself comes from the Latin noun tempus, meaning "time." "Tempus" is also the root of such words as "tempo," "contemporary," and "temporal." If you need to buy some time, you might resort to temporizing - but you probably won't win admiration for doing so. "Temporize" can have a somewhat negative connotation. For instance, a political leader faced with a difficult issue might temporize by talking vaguely about possible solutions without actually doing anything. The point of such temporizing is to avoid taking definite - and possibly unpopular - action, in hopes that the problem will somehow go away. But the effect is often just to make matters worse.
Origin of temporize
Middle French temporiser, from Medieval Latin temporizare to pass the time, from Latin tempor-, tempus
First Known Use: 1579
Rhymes with temporize
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