ex·​tem·​po·​ra·​ne·​ous | \ (ˌ)ek-ˌstem-pə-ˈrā-nē-əs How to pronounce extemporaneous (audio) \

Definition of extemporaneous

1a(1) : composed, performed, or uttered on the spur of the moment : impromptu an extemporaneous comment
(2) : carefully prepared but delivered without notes or text
b : skilled at or given to extemporaneous utterance
c : happening suddenly and often unexpectedly and usually without clearly known causes or relationships a great deal of criminal and delinquent behavior is … extemporaneous— W. C. Reckless
2 : provided, made, or put to use as an expedient : makeshift an extemporaneous shelter

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Other Words from extemporaneous

extemporaneously adverb
extemporaneousness noun

Did You Know?

Extemporaneous, which comes from Latin ex tempore ("out of the time"), joined the English language sometime in the mid-17th century. The word impromptu was improvised soon after that. In general usage, extemporaneous and impromptu are used interchangeably to describe off-the-cuff remarks or speeches, but this is not the case when they are used in reference to the learned art of public speaking. Teachers of speech will tell you that an extemporaneous speech is one that has been thoroughly prepared and planned but not memorized, whereas an impromptu speech is one for which absolutely no preparations have been made.

Examples of extemporaneous in a Sentence

caught by surprise, I had to make an extemporaneous speech at the awards banquet
Recent Examples on the Web Pro wrestling, historically an extemporaneous art form built around wrestlers having great flexibility to define their own personalities, became tightly scripted. Todd Martin, Los Angeles Times, "AEW debuts as a new hope in pro wrestling," 2 Oct. 2019 In the South, a Thanksgiving blessing usually involves some extemporaneous praying by someone who knows how. Greg Garrison | Ggarrison@al.com, al, "Saying Grace: tradition holds that a blessing should be said before the meal," 27 Nov. 2019 The combination of extemporaneous performance and preëxisting art form enacts a trust across time and space. S. Whitney Holmes, The New Yorker, "How Live Accompaniments Make Silent Films Interactive," 31 Oct. 2019 There’s very little that’s extemporaneous about Gruden’s ideal offense. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: Jon Gruden’s not adjusting, and that’s a big issue for the Raiders," 19 Sep. 2019 Sometimes Biden’s extemporaneous flights in politics have led to verbal missteps. Los Angeles Times, "Joe Biden’s childhood struggle with a stutter: How he overcame it and how it shaped him," 16 Sep. 2019 Adam is especially gifted at extemporaneous argument, which has become his way of aggressively dominating others. Jordan Kisner, The Atlantic, "Boy, Uninterrupted," 10 Sep. 2019 But the episode appears to have been much more extemporaneous. Kate Kelly, The Seattle Times, "Elon Musk’s tweet on Tesla going private was a surprise to even its board," 13 Aug. 2018 As the extemporaneous song grows, others join in with musings of their own, call-and-response style. Alex Williams, New York Times, "Tech Elites Recreate Burning Man Inside Their Living Rooms," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extemporaneous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of extemporaneous

1673, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for extemporaneous

Late Latin extemporaneus, from Latin ex tempore

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Time Traveler for extemporaneous

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The first known use of extemporaneous was in 1673

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Cite this Entry

“Extemporaneous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extemporaneous. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for extemporaneous


How to pronounce extemporaneous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of extemporaneous

: made up or done without special preparation

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