Definition of temporize
- you'd have to temporize until you found out how she wanted to be advised
- —Mary Austin
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Pressured by voters on both sides of the issue, the congressmen temporized.
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Temporize comes from the Medieval Latin verb temporizare ("to pass the time"), which itself comes from the Latin noun tempus, meaning "time." "Tempus" is also the root of such words as "tempo," "contemporary," and "temporal." If you need to buy some time, you might resort to temporizing - but you probably won't win admiration for doing so. "Temporize" can have a somewhat negative connotation. For instance, a political leader faced with a difficult issue might temporize by talking vaguely about possible solutions without actually doing anything. The point of such temporizing is to avoid taking definite - and possibly unpopular - action, in hopes that the problem will somehow go away. But the effect is often just to make matters worse.
: to avoid making a decision or giving a definite answer in order to have more time
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