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 Midway through the second quarter of the Spurs’ resounding 131-119 victory in Memphis on Wednesday, Brooks had the temerity to try crossing up Dejounte Murray. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio Spurs fire on all cylinders in rout of Memphis," 24 Dec. 2020 But dissident hopes were soon dashed when the dictatorship canceled a second promised meeting because the group had the temerity to request that its imprisoned members be included. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "Cuba’s San Isidro Uprising," 20 Dec. 2020 Against Miami, ace Max Fried had the temerity to give up four runs in an eventual 9-5 Game 1 victory, but that was it. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Braves finish off sweep of Marlins with another shutout, advance to NLCS," 8 Oct. 2020 Some even had the temerity to display diamond-blue skies in their Instas, tweets, and Facebook posts. Steven Levy, Wired, "The Apocalypse Doesn’t Need an Instagram Filter," 11 Sep. 2020 There Erpenbeck has the temerity to affirm the humanity of contemporary refugees — in particular the families coming across the Rio Grande. John Domini, Washington Post, "In ‘Not a Novel,’ Jenny Erpenbeck continues to evolve," 8 Sep. 2020 On the eve of the release of Grace, an interviewer had the temerity to ask Buckley about his father, famed folk singer Tim Buckley, who died of a heroin overdose in 1975 at the age of 28. Tom Maxwell, Longreads, "Shelved: Jeff Buckley’s Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk," 10 Aug. 2020 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

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

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Temerity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/temerity. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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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Nglish: Translation of temerity for Spanish Speakers

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