from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The manner of thinking, behaving, or reacting characteristic of a specific person: synonym: disposition.
  • noun The distinguishing mental and physical characteristics of a human according to medieval physiology, resulting from dominance of one of the four humors.
  • noun Excessive irritability or sensitiveness.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To constitute as regards temperament.
  • noun State with respect to the relative proportion of qualities or constituent parts; constitution; mixture of opposite or different qualities; a condition resulting from the blending of various qualities.
  • noun That individual peculiarity of physical organization by which the manner of acting, feeling, and thinking of every person is permanently affected: as, a phlegmatic temperament; a sanguine temperament; the artistic temperament.
  • noun A middle course or an arrangement reached by mutual concession, as by a tempering of extreme claims on either side; adjustment of conflicting influences, as passions, interests, or doctrines, or the means by which such adjustment is effected; compromise.
  • noun Condition as to heat or cold; temperature.
  • noun In music, the principle or system of tuning in accordance with which the tones of an instrument of fixed intonation are tuned, or those of the voice or of an instrument of free intonation are modulated in a given case.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Internal constitution; state with respect to the relative proportion of different qualities, or constituent parts.
  • noun obsolete Due mixture of qualities; a condition brought about by mutual compromises or concessions.
  • noun The act of tempering or modifying; adjustment, as of clashing rules, interests, passions, or the like; also, the means by which such adjustment is effected.
  • noun obsolete Condition with regard to heat or cold; temperature.
  • noun (Mus.) A system of compromises in the tuning of organs, pianofortes, and the like, whereby the tones generated with the vibrations of a ground tone are mutually modified and in part canceled, until their number reduced to the actual practicable scale of twelve tones to the octave. This scale, although in so far artificial, is yet closely suggestive of its origin in nature, and this system of tuning, although not mathematically true, yet satisfies the ear, while it has the convenience that the same twelve fixed tones answer for every key or scale, C♯ becoming identical with D♭, and so on.
  • noun (Physiol.) The peculiar physical and mental character of an individual, in olden times erroneously supposed to be due to individual variation in the relations and proportions of the constituent parts of the body, especially of the fluids, as the bile, blood, lymph, etc. Hence the phrases, bilious or choleric temperament, sanguine temperament, etc., implying a predominance of one of these fluids and a corresponding influence on the temperament.
  • noun (Mus.) that in which the variations from mathematically true pitch are distributed among all the keys alike.
  • noun (Mus.) that in which the variations are thrown into the keys least used.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete A moderate and proportionable mixture of elements or ingredients in a compound; the condition in which elements are mixed in their proper proportions.
  • noun obsolete Any state or condition as determined by the proportion of its ingredients or the manner in which they are mixed; consistence, composition; mixture.
  • noun a person's normal manner of thinking, behaving or reacting
  • noun a tendency to become irritable or angry
  • noun music the altering of certain intervals from their correct values in order to improve the moving from key to key

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun excessive emotionalism or irritability and excitability (especially when displayed openly)
  • noun an adjustment of the intervals (as in tuning a keyboard instrument) so that the scale can be used to play in different keys
  • noun your usual mood


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Latin temperāmentum, from temperāre, to temper; see temper.]



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  • You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me. There is a certain taint in death, a flavor of mortality in lies--which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world--what I want to forget. It makes me miserable and sick, like biting something rotten will do. Temperament, I suppose. --Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

    March 9, 2011

  • I'm glad he doesn't hate and detest repetitious tautology.

    March 9, 2011

  • Bear in mind it's Marlowe, not Conrad, speaking here - the repetition for emphasis sounds natural enough to me.

    March 9, 2011