tem·​pera | \ ˈtem-pə-rə How to pronounce tempera (audio) \

Definition of tempera

1 : a process of painting in which an albuminous or colloidal medium (such as egg yolk) is employed as a vehicle instead of oil also : a painting done in tempera

Examples of tempera in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Bette Nesmith Graham, then a secretary at Texas Bank and Trust in the 1950s, started using tempera paint and a thin paintbrush to fix typing mistakes. Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express-News, 18 Oct. 2021 Painted in 1445 in egg tempera and gold, this wooden panel was once part of an altarpiece — known as the Guelfi altarpiece — the main part of which is now in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2021 Other songs are presented in cut-paper collage and tempera paint. BostonGlobe.com, 1 July 2021 These were spurred in part by the growing use of oil paint over egg tempera, which allowed for more lavish colors and textures — all the better to depict the one percent. Roberta Smith, New York Times, 24 June 2021 Sometimes schoolchildren decorate exterior glass with tempera paint murals, for example. Victoria Bekiempis, Curbed, 28 May 2021 The tempera paint on the walls rubbed off on people. Elizabeth Mccracken, The Atlantic, 8 Apr. 2021 On view in the show are 79 prints, watercolors and paintings in tempera on paper. Steven Litt, cleveland, 14 Mar. 2021 The 1893 version in the Oslo museum’s collection, painted in tempera with pastels, is the original. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Feb. 2021

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

1832, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tempera

borrowed from Italian, "tempera, mixture, temperament, constitution" (in modern Italian usually tempra in figurative senses), noun derivative of temperare, temprare "to mix in the proper proportion, moderate," going back to Latin temperāre "to moderate, bring to a proper strength or consistency by mixing" — more at temper entry 2

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The first known use of tempera was in 1832

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Last Updated

30 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tempera.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tempera. Accessed 27 Nov. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of tempera

: a kind of paint in which the color is mixed with water and usually egg

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