Word of the Day : September 2, 2019


verb ik-STEMP-puh-ryze

What It Means

1 : to do something extemporaneously : improvise; especially : to compose, perform, or speak extemporaneously

2 : to get along in a makeshift manner


"Donald's own trio consisted of piano, bass and cello. Each player's part was written, not extemporized." — Anthony Weller, The Los Angeles Times, 3 Feb. 2019 

"The name Cher Horowitz was extemporized by Wallace Shawn, who plays a teacher in 'Clueless.' Wallace Shawn is also Jewish, and he came up with the catchy Jewish-sounding designation for the film's star during a scene where he was taking attendance in the classroom." — Tamar Skydell, The Forward, 31 Dec. 2018

Did You Know?

Extemporize means to say or do something on the spur of the moment, an appropriate meaning given the word's history. Extemporize was coined by adding the suffix -ize to Latin ex tempore, meaning "instantaneously" or "on the spur of the moment." Ex tempore, in turn, was formed by combining ex and the noun tempus, meaning "time." Incidentally, ex tempore was also borrowed wholesale into English (where it means "extemporaneously"). Other descendants of Latin ex tempore include the now rare extemporal and extemporary (both synonyms of extemporaneous), and as you have no doubt guessed by now, extemporaneous itself.

Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to complete a word derived from Latin tempus ("time") that refers to an inopportune or embarrassing occurrence or situation: c _ _ tr _ te _ _ s.



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