AskDefine | Define tempered

Dictionary Definition

tempered adj
1 made hard or flexible or resilient especially by heat treatment; "a sword of tempered steel"; "tempered glass" [syn: treated, hardened, toughened] [ant: untempered]
2 adjusted or attuned by adding a counterbalancing element; "criticism tempered with kindly sympathy" [ant: untempered]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Of one's disposition.
    ''The Pyncheon Elm, throughout its great circumference, was all alive, and full of the morning sun and a sweet-tempered little breeze, which lingered within this verdant sphere, and set a thousand leafy tongues a-whispering all at once. This aged tree appeared to have suffered nothing from the gale. — Edgar Allen Poe, The House of the Seven Gables'', Chapter 19.
  2. Pertaining to the metallurgical process for finishing metals.
    1851 ''"Not forged!" and snatching Perth's levelled iron from the crotch, Ahab held it out, exclaiming -- "Look ye, Nantucketer; here in this hand I hold his death! Tempered in blood, and tempered by lightning are these barbs; and I swear to temper them triply in that hot place behind the fin, where the white whale most feels his accursed life!" — Herman Melville, Moby Dick.
  3. Of something moderated or balanced by other considerations.
    1792 The downcast eye, the rosy blush, the retiring grace, are all proper in their season; but modesty, being the child of reason, cannot long exist with the sensibility that is not tempered by reflection — Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.''
  4. Pertaining to the well-tempered scale, where the twelve notes per octave of the standard keyboard are tuned in such a way that it is possible to play music in any major or minor key and it will not sound perceptibly out of tune.



  1. past of temper

Extensive Definition

Temperare (to mix correctly) is the Latin origin of words like "temperature" and "tempering"; it and "tempo" come, in turn, from tempus (time or season). Thus, the word "temper" can refer (at least informally) to any time- and temperature-sensitive process (as for chocolate tempering or tempered glass), a material's thermo-mechanical history (including cold work and cryogenic hardening), or even its composition.
Temper may mean:
  • Temper-3D, CAD program for calculating temperature in any 3D objects
  • Tempering, in metallurgy, a heat treatment technique for metals and alloys; also a method for producing toughened glass
  • Tempering, in cooking, refers to the frying of spices (particularly in the cuisines of South Asia) to release their aroma; called chaunk in Hindi
  • In music, temper describes the method used to tune an instrument to produce a pleasing sound
  • The Well-Tempered Clavier is a composition by Bach making use of well tempered tuning
  • Tempered representation in mathematics
  • Temperament, in psychology, the general nature of an individual's personality
  • Tempering, in chocolate manufacture, a method of increasing the shine and durability of chocolate couverture
  • A display of anger
  • Temper (band), an American dance music group

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

aged, annealed, chastened, conditioned, constrained, controlled, developed, full-blown, full-fledged, full-grown, fully developed, hardened, heat-treated, hedged, hedged about, hushed, in control, in full bloom, in hand, leavened, limited, mature, mellow, mellowed, mitigated, modified, modulated, qualified, quelled, restrained, restricted, ripe, seasoned, softened, stable, subdued, toughened
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