Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

tempo

play
noun tem·po \ˈtem-(ˌ)pō\

Simple Definition of tempo

  • : the speed at which a musical piece is played or sung

  • : the speed at which something moves or happens

Full Definition of tempo

plural tem·pi play \-(ˌ)pē\ or tempos

  1. 1 :  the rate of speed of a musical piece or passage indicated by one of a series of directions (as largo, presto, or allegro) and often by an exact metronome marking

  2. 2 :  rate of motion or activity :  pace

Examples of tempo

  1. The song has a slow tempo.

  2. The composition has many changes of tempo.

  3. We walked at a fast tempo.

  4. The tempo of the game slowed down.

  5. The dance starts out fast and then switches tempo.



Origin of tempo

Italian, literally, time, from Latin tempus


First Known Use: circa 1724


Learn More about tempo


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up tempo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 14, 2016

to hug and kiss another person

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

196.5 pounds 100 pounds 2.2 pounds 16.96 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ