in·​tem·​per·​ate (ˌ)in-ˈtem-p(ə-)rət How to pronounce intemperate (audio)
: not temperate
intemperate criticism
especially : given to excessive use of intoxicating liquors
intemperately adverb
intemperateness noun

Did you know?

Intemperate means "not well tempered"—in other words, not well mixed or balanced. The word comes from Latin intemperatus, a combination of in- and the verb temperare, meaning "to temper" or "to mix."

Examples of intemperate in a Sentence

intemperate anger that is so extreme that the man should be in therapy a serious course in wine appreciation that does not welcome intemperate drinkers and party animals
Recent Examples on the Web The results in Germany, argued Jan-Werner Müller, a professor of politics at Princeton University, offer a riposte to the conventional wisdom in much of the West that sees restive publics inexorably attracted to polarizing, intemperate anti-establishment forces. Washington Post, 1 Oct. 2021 Accustomed to Russian threats, officials in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, took Moscow’s warnings as mostly bluster — the latest in a series of increasingly intemperate statements by a country that is severely stretched militarily by its invasion of Ukraine. New York Times, 20 June 2022 Writing fan mail creates an opportunity to take pleasure in my own intemperate passions. Rachael Bedard, New York Times, 16 Aug. 2022 In fact, his road to the presidency was marked, and in some ways helped, by his intemperate outbursts. Andrew Downie, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 Sep. 2022 The intemperate voices of the 10% at each extreme of the political spectrum have poisoned public discourse. Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 Sep. 2022 In that role, Simpson distinguished himself as a foul-mouthed, intemperate, obnoxious purveyor of misinformation about Social Security. Los Angeles Times, 5 July 2022 But despite the intemperate ramblings of the current occupant of the Oval Office, there is no support whatsoever in the Congress or the country for a war of regime change in Russia. Ben Domenech, National Review, 5 Apr. 2022 Three months, and not one player reaching for his phone in an intemperate moment, publicly second-guessing the negotiating strategy of his union. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, 26 Feb. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Middle English intemperat, from Latin intemperatus, from in- + temperatus, past participle of temperare to temper

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of intemperate was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near intemperate

Cite this Entry

“Intemperate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​tem·​per·​ate (ˌ)in-ˈtem-p(ə-)rət How to pronounce intemperate (audio)
: not moderate or mild : severe
intemperate weather
: lacking or showing lack of restraint
intemperate language
: given to excessive use of alcoholic beverages
intemperately adverb
intemperateness noun

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