temporize

verb tem·po·rize \ ˈtem-pə-ˌrīz \

Definition of temporize

temporized; temporizing
intransitive verb
1 :to act to suit the time or occasion :yield to current or dominant opinion
2 :to draw out discussions or negotiations so as to gain time
  • you'd have to temporize until you found out how she wanted to be advised
  • —Mary Austin

temporization

play \ˌtem-pə-rə-ˈzā-shən\ noun

temporizer

noun

temporize was our Word of the Day on 08/12/2017. Hear the podcast!

Examples of temporize in a Sentence

  1. Pressured by voters on both sides of the issue, the congressmen temporized.

Recent Examples of temporize from the Web

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

Is it Time to temporize?

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.

Origin and Etymology of temporize

Middle French temporiser, from Medieval Latin temporizare to pass the time, from Latin tempor-, tempus


TEMPORIZE Defined for English Language Learners

temporize

verb

Definition of temporize for English Language Learners

  • : to avoid making a decision or giving a definite answer in order to have more time


Learn More about temporize


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

spoken rather than written

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!