tempo

noun tem·po \ ˈtem-(ˌ)pō \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of tempo

plural tempi play \-(ˌ)pē\ or tempos
1 : the rate of speed of a musical piece or passage indicated by one of a series of directions (such as largo, presto, or allegro) and often by an exact metronome marking
2 : rate of motion or activity : pace

Examples of tempo in a Sentence

  1. The song has a slow tempo.

  2. The composition has many changes of tempo.

  3. We walked at a fast tempo.

  4. The tempo of the game slowed down.

  5. The dance starts out fast and then switches tempo.

Recent Examples of tempo from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tempo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of tempo

Italian, literally, time, from Latin tempus


TEMPO Defined for English Language Learners

tempo

noun

Definition of tempo for English Language Learners

  • : the speed at which a musical piece is played or sung

  • : the speed at which something moves or happens


TEMPO Defined for Kids

tempo

noun tem·po \ ˈtem-pō \

Definition of tempo for Students

plural tempi \-ˌpē\ or tempos
: the rate of speed at which a musical composition is played or sung

Word Root of tempo

The Latin word tempus, meaning “time,”and its form temporis give us the roots temp and tempor. Words from the Latin tempus have something to do with time. Something temporary lasts only a short time. Someone or something contemporary lives or occurs at the same time as someone or something else. A tempo is the speed at which music is performed in time.


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