from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of or pertaining to the temple or temples of the head: said chiefly of mammals and especially of man.
  • In entomology, postorbital; situated just behind or beneath the compound eyes.
  • noun The bone of the temple, or os temporis. See temporal bone, above.
  • Of or pertaining to time; expressing relations of time: as, a temporal clause; a temporal adverb.
  • Of or pertaining to time in the sense of the present life or this world; secular: distinguished from spiritual.
  • Measured or limited by time, or by this life or this state of things; having limited existence; of short duration; enduring for a time: opposed to eternal.
  • In grammar, relating to a tense, or to the distinction of time expressed by tenses.
  • 2 and Temporary, Temporal. Temporary, lasting but a short time: as, a temporary staging; temporal, belonging to time, hence belonging to this world, secular, or limited by time, not permanent, although perhaps not so fleeting as temporary things.
  • noun Anything temporal or secular; a temporality; a temporal matter or affair.
  • noun In ichthyology: Same as hyomandibular.
  • noun Same as pterotic.
  • noun Same as sphenotic, 2.

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

  • adjective (Anat.) Of or pertaining to the temple or temples
  • adjective a very complex bone situated in the side of the skull of most mammals and containing the organ of hearing. It consists of an expanded squamosal portion above the ear, corresponding to the squamosal and zygoma of the lower vertebrates, and a thickened basal petrosal and mastoid portion, corresponding to the periotic and tympanic bones of the lower vertebrates.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to time, that is, to the present life, or this world; secular, as distinguished from sacred or eternal.
  • adjective Civil or political, as distinguished from ecclesiastical.
  • adjective See under Lord, n.
  • adjective See the Note under Augment, n.
  • noun Anything temporal or secular; a temporality; -- used chiefly in the plural.

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

  • adjective Of or relating to time.
  • adjective Of limited time; not perpetual.
  • adjective Of or relating to the material world, as opposed to spiritual.
  • adjective Lasting a short time only.
  • noun Anything temporal or secular; a temporality.
  • adjective of the temples of the head
  • noun anatomy Either of the bones on the side of the skull, near the ears.

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

  • adjective of or relating to or limited by time
  • adjective not eternal
  • adjective of this earth or world
  • noun the semantic role of the noun phrase that designates the time of the state or action denoted by the verb
  • adjective characteristic of or devoted to the temporal world as opposed to the spiritual world
  • adjective of or relating to the temples (the sides of the skull behind the orbit)


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English temporal, from Old French temporal, from Latin temporalis, from tempus ("season, time, opportunity").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From New Latin temporalis, from Latin tempora ("the temples"), plural of tempus ("temple, head, face").


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  • I've heard a few people (*) pronounce it temPOral instead of TEMporal. Has anyone else ever heard that? Could it be an accepted variant? Chelster? Anyone?

    (*) In particular, biologists in my PhD program, when referring to phylogenetic methods (maybe mollusque can help?).

    February 23, 2011

  • I've only heard it as tem-POR-al.

    February 24, 2011

  • I say it with a sort of U sound in the middle--no L at the end. I'm especially fond of sweet potato temporal, but big slices of carrots are yummy, too.

    February 24, 2011

  • Have you tried lords temporal, ruzuzu? They're a bit like prawns, but not as juicy.

    February 24, 2011

  • Ah, delicious fried time lord--no wonder Dr. Who is the last of his kind.

    February 24, 2011

  • *suddenly has an unreasonable urge to scream "Exterminate! Exterminate!*

    March 1, 2011

  • Just to clarify: by TEMporal I mean both Mr. Pronunciation's and chelster's pronunciations.

    March 29, 2011