ex·​tem·​po·​rize ik-ˈstem-pə-ˌrīz How to pronounce extemporize (audio)
extemporized; extemporizing

intransitive verb

: to do something extemporaneously : improvise
especially : to speak extemporaneously
: to get along in a makeshift manner

transitive verb

: to compose, perform, or utter extemporaneously : improvise
extemporized an after-dinner speech
extemporizer noun

Did you know?

Extemporize means to say or do something on the spur of the moment, an appropriate meaning given the word's history. Extemporize was coined by adding the suffix -ize to Latin ex tempore, meaning "instantaneously" or "on the spur of the moment." Ex tempore, in turn, was formed by combining ex and the noun tempus, meaning "time." Incidentally, ex tempore was also borrowed wholesale into English (where it means "extemporaneously"). Other descendants of Latin ex tempore include the now rare extemporal and extemporary (both synonyms of extemporaneous), and as you have no doubt guessed by now, extemporaneous itself.

Examples of extemporize in a Sentence

a good talk show host has to be able to extemporize the interviews when things don't go as planned
Recent Examples on the Web The future, instead, seems to belong to the teams and coaches who are willing to be a little more flexible and see their role as providing a platform on which their players might extemporize. Rory Smith, New York Times, 3 Mar. 2023 Friends said he was talented and could extemporize about anything. Jacques Kelly, Baltimore Sun, 24 Jan. 2023 Feel free to extemporize, enthuse and connect with people, rather than overwork the data. Palena Neale, Forbes, 26 Oct. 2021 In public appearances, Emanuel likes to extemporize, cajole, and find a connection. Connie Bruck, The New Yorker, 19 Apr. 2021 The Trump that appeared in the East Room of the White House to honor the singers was not the same figure who likes to crack jokes and extemporize freely when rubbing shoulders with superstars. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, 15 Jan. 2021 That meant players were able to extemporize, to take chances without being accused of departing too far from the team playbook. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Sep. 2019 And they are exacerbated by Mr. Trump’s tendency to extemporize and the North Koreans’ long track record of duplicitous negotiation. Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, 9 Mar. 2018 Each presenter now has the freedom to extemporize on the warning — a nonnegotiable requirement of the program’s opening — but not by much. Rory Smith, New York Times, 14 Apr. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'extemporize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


extempore + -ize

First Known Use

1592, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of extemporize was in 1592

Dictionary Entries Near extemporize

Cite this Entry

“Extemporize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extemporize. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ex·​tem·​po·​rize ik-ˈstem-pə-ˌrīz How to pronounce extemporize (audio)
extemporized; extemporizing
: to do, make, or speak extempore : improvise
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!