noun te·mer·i·ty \ tə-ˈmer-ə-tē \
|Updated on: 4 Jul 2018

Definition of temerity

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

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Examples of temerity in a Sentence

  1. 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 GleibermanEntertainment Weekly16 Feb. 2007
  2. 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. ESPN24 July 2000
  3. … 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 EggersA Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius2000
  4. He was punished for his temerity.

  5. she had the temerity to ask my boyfriend if she could go out with him should he and I ever break up

Recent Examples of temerity from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of temerity

Middle English temeryte, from Latin temeritas, from temere blindly, recklessly; akin to Old High German demar darkness, Latin tenebrae, Sanskrit tamas

Synonym Discussion of 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

TEMERITY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of temerity for English Language Learners

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

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