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

  • adj. Of, relating to, or limited by time: a temporal dimension; temporal and spatial boundaries.
  • adj. Of or relating to the material world; worldly: the temporal possessions of the Church.
  • adj. Lasting only for a time; not eternal; passing: our temporal existence.
  • adj. Secular or lay; civil: lords temporal and spiritual.
  • adj. Grammar Expressing time: a temporal adverb.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or near the temples of the skull.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the temple or temples
  • adj. Of or pertaining to time, that is, to the present life, or this world; secular, as distinguished from sacred or eternal.
  • adj. Civil or political, as distinguished from ecclesiastical.
  • n. Anything temporal or secular; a temporality; -- used chiefly in the plural.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. Anything temporal or secular; a temporality; a temporal matter or affair.
  • 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.
  • n. The bone of the temple, or os temporis. See temporal bone, above.
  • n. In ichthyology: Same as hyomandibular.
  • n. Same as pterotic.
  • n. Same as sphenotic, 2.

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

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


Middle English, from Old French, from Latin temporālis, from tempus, tempor-, time.
Late Latin temporālis, from Latin tempora, pl. of tempus, temple.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English temporal, from Old French temporal, from Latin temporalis, from tempus ("season, time, opportunity"). (Wiktionary)
From New Latin temporalis, from Latin tempora ("the temples"), plural of tempus ("temple, head, face"). (Wiktionary)



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

    March 29, 2011

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

    March 1, 2011

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

    February 24, 2011

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

    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

  • I've only heard it as tem-POR-al.

    February 24, 2011

  • 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