te·​mer·​i·​ty | \ tə-ˈmer-ə-tē How to pronounce temerity (audio) \
plural temerities

Definition of temerity

1 : unreasonable or foolhardy contempt of danger or opposition : rashness, recklessness
2 : a rash or reckless act

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Choose the Right Synonym for temerity

temerity, audacity, hardihood, effrontery, nerve, cheek, gall, chutzpah mean conspicuous or flagrant boldness. temerity suggests boldness arising from rashness and contempt of danger. had the temerity to refuse audacity implies a disregard of restraints commonly imposed by convention or prudence. an entrepreneur with audacity and vision hardihood suggests firmness in daring and defiance. admired for her hardihood effrontery implies shameless, insolent disregard of propriety or courtesy. outraged at his effrontery nerve, cheek, gall, and chutzpah are informal equivalents for effrontery. the nerve of that guy has the cheek to call herself a singer had the gall to demand proof the chutzpah needed for a career in show business

Did You Know?

When it comes to flagrant boldness, temerity, audacity,hardihood, and effrontery have the cheek to get your meaning across. Of those synonyms, temerity (from the Latin temere, meaning "blindly" or "recklessly") suggests boldness arising from contempt of danger, while audacity implies a disregard of the restraints commonly imposed by convention or prudence. Hardihood implies firmness in daring and defiance, and effrontery suggests a shameless disregard of propriety and courtesy. If you're looking for a more informal term for a brash attitude, you might consider nerve, cheek,gall, or chutzpah.

Examples of temerity in a Sentence

He defeated giant corporations—the auto industry, big pharma—back when no one else was even trying to; he had the temerity to believe that fighting for safety and quality and transparency was a quintessentially American thing to do. — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, 16 Feb. 2007 A wisp of a kid (six feet, 160 pounds) with the temerity to buzz pitches up and in to Barry Bonds, Hudson has a bit of Pedro in him. ESPN, 24 July 2000 … all the while you're balancing your two prevailing interests: recording her words to later use against her—because, she, too, had the temerity to be relatively famous and attractive (with a master's from Penn)—while also, more pressingly, trying to get invited back to her apartment. — Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, 2000 He was punished for his temerity. she had the temerity to ask my boyfriend if she could go out with him should he and I ever break up
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Recent Examples on the Web The constitutional crisis, of course, continues unabated, and could worsen if Trump decides to fire his top general for having the temerity to be anything more than a mute uniform in the background. Adam Weinstein, The New Republic, "America’s Top General Isn’t That Sorry," 11 June 2020 One Hannity guest had the temerity to dissent — sort of. New York Times, "Right-Wing Media Says Virus Fears Were Whipped Up to Hurt Trump," 10 Mar. 2020 Since the uprising broke out, Allaw has become a familiar face, known for his unmitigated temerity in confronting politicians and police. Washington Post, "Bloodied but determined, Lebanese protesters take stock," 4 Feb. 2020 With Democrats feeling this mercurial, no one should have the temerity to project what will happen in the South Carolina primary on February 29 or in the 14 states that head to the polls in the Super Tuesday contests on March 3. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Media’s Lousy Election Analysis Is Damaging Political Discourse," 12 Feb. 2020 British politics since the referendum has become so rowdy—sometimes to the point of dysfunction—because voters had the temerity to assert themselves despite resistance from a political and bureaucratic class invested in the status quo. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Britain’s Independence Day," 29 Jan. 2020 In a recent legal filing, US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office wrote that shortly after pleading guilty, Semprevivo had the temerity to sue Georgetown to block the university from expelling his son. BostonGlobe.com, "A California man who paid $400,000 to get his son into Georgetown as a fake tennis recruit in the college admissions cheating scandal faces sentencing Thursday.," 27 Sep. 2019 After taking the lead through Lautaro Martínez's second-minute strike, Inter played with a style and confidence that few teams visiting Barcelona would have had the temerity to display. James Masters, CNN, "Inter Milan vs. Juventus: Antonio Conte seeks to answer prayers in search for holy grail," 4 Oct. 2019 The group even bought television ads in New Hampshire against Bennet, who had had the temerity to introduce Gorsuch, a fellow Coloradan, to the Senate when he was nominated to the court. James R. Copland, Washington Post, "Inside the battle over Kavanaugh, from ‘handmaid’ protesters to Bible verses," 8 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'temerity.' 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 temerity

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for temerity

Middle English temeryte, borrowed from Latin temeritāt- temeritās, from temere "blindly, recklessly, haphazardly" + -itāt- -itās -ity; temere going back to adverbialized locative singular of a noun *temes- "darkness," going back to Indo-European *temH-es-, whence also Sanskrit tamas- "darkness, gloom," Avestan tǝmah-, and, from the base *temH-, Lithuanian témsta, témti "to become dark," tamsà "darkness," tim͂sras "dark red (of a horse), sorrel," Old Church Slavic tĭma "darkness," tĭmĭnŭ "dark, gloomy," and from a *-ro- adjectival derivative Sanskrit tamra- "darkening, oppressive," Germanic *þemra- "darkness," whence Old High German demar "dusk, twilight"

Note: See also tenebrae.

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The first known use of temerity was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

25 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Temerity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/temerity. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for temerity


How to pronounce temerity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of temerity

formal : the quality of being confident and unafraid of danger or punishment especially in a way that seems rude or foolish

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More from Merriam-Webster on temerity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for temerity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with temerity

Spanish Central: Translation of temerity

Nglish: Translation of temerity for Spanish Speakers

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