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

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 Slain at just 39, the extemporaneous oratory on the eve of his assassination ensured that King would be remembered as a sort of American Moses. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: MLK’s final speech — delivered 50 years ago today — was full of timely and timeless teachings," 3 Apr. 2018 Then, one of the most eloquent extemporaneous speeches of the 20th century tumbled from his lips. Alice George, Smithsonian, "When Robert Kennedy Delivered the News of Martin Luther King’s Assassination," 2 Apr. 2018 There was not a discouraging word in Postel’s extemporaneous remarks. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville's law firm hired a private detective to investigate ex-Louisville AD Tom Jurich," 29 Jan. 2018 But what really explains the students’ poise, said Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, is the school district’s system-wide debate program that teaches extemporaneous speaking from an early age. Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "Last fall, they debated gun control in class. Now, they debate lawmakers on TV. | Miami Herald," 23 Feb. 2018 Such extemporaneous wellness tips are one of the perks of the job. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Celebrity Stylist Karla Welch Masters the Signature Beauty Look, from Red Lipstick to Slicked-Back Hair," 25 Oct. 2017

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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Statistics for extemporaneous

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for extemporaneous

The first known use of extemporaneous was in 1673

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English Language Learners Definition of extemporaneous

: made up or done without special preparation

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