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

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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 Extremely well-read, knowledgeable and an excellent extemporaneous public speaker as a three-term New Hampshire governor in the 1970s, my father had lost the power to generate speech. WSJ, 8 July 2021 Blinken, speaking moments before Sullivan, delivered his own extemporaneous rejection of Yang’s rebukes. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, 19 Mar. 2021 Between releasing multiple albums, breaking every type of record and appearing in these extemporaneous livestreams in 2020, BTS ascended to the zenith of pop stardom. NBC News, 11 Dec. 2020 As many of us were in a position to observe at the time, such models ranged from the highly structured and hierarchical environments of department heads, middle management, and line staff to extemporaneous gatherings of equals. Lettie Prell, Wired, 4 Dec. 2020 Trump’s imprecise, extemporaneous comments about vaccines have frequently clashed with messages from government officials, outside scientists and companies. Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2020 While marked with a handful of provocative statements and occasional ad-libbing, Republican operatives said Trump concluded his remarks with a minimum of the dark imagery and extemporaneous comments characteristic of his signature stadium rallies. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, 28 Aug. 2020 Instead of crisp synchronicity, Jepsen opts for fluid, extemporaneous groove. Rachelvoronacote, Longreads, 10 Aug. 2020 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, 2 Oct. 2019

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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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 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for extemporaneous



English Language Learners Definition of extemporaneous

: made up or done without special preparation

More from Merriam-Webster on extemporaneous

Nglish: Translation of extemporaneous for Spanish Speakers


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