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

And not those who simply deserve better for having the temerity of pointing it out. Content and Programming Copyright 2018 Fox News Network, LLC. Fox News, "Cavuto: Stop throwing mud if you want to drain the swamp," 16 July 2018 That Judge Kavanaugh had the temerity to defend himself vigorously is now being counted as a strike against him. Orrin Hatch, WSJ, "Brett Kavanaugh’s Righteous Anger," 2 Oct. 2018 Spartanburg Christian senior Grayson Ray once had the temerity to stand in the paint as Williamson stampeded in his direction with a full head of steam. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The Few. The Proud. The Players Who Have Been Run Over by Zion Williamson.," 5 Dec. 2018 Because all the patients were men who had taken up the newly mass-advertised practice of cigarette smoking as soldiers in World War I, Ochsner and DeBakey had the temerity to suggest that cigarettes were responsible. WSJ, "Who Should Gain From Your Medical Data?," 29 Nov. 2018 While communal-style dining is nothing particularly novel, the concept of the local food hall has grown with impressive temerity — in 2016, the number of food halls increased by 37 percent and is expected to double by 2019. Bethany Biron, Vox, "The food court’s younger, hipper cousin is a curated version of the mall staple.," 30 Oct. 2018 One interesting twist is liberal anger at Kennedy for having the temerity to retire shortly before his 82nd birthday after three decades on the court. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Liberal pundits rip Kennedy, demand any Trump nominee be stopped," 29 June 2018 Literally two people, who don’t even hold public office, have the temerity to be publicly angry at the Trump administration, and somehow that’s enough to merit an Emily Post course in dinner-table conversation from the fartsniffer set. Drew Magary, GQ, "This Is Why Trump Won," 14 June 2018 In case the special counsel had the temerity to press his request, Mr Trump’s lawyers raised a third spectre. The Economist, "Donald Trump’s powers are not quite as vast as his lawyers claim," 7 June 2018

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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Temminck's stint

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Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for temerity

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

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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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with temerity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for temerity

Spanish Central: Translation of temerity

Nglish: Translation of temerity for Spanish Speakers

Comments on temerity

What made you want to look up temerity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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