Definition of temper noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈtempə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈtempər//
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  1. 1[countable, usually singular, uncountable] if somebody has a temper, they become angry very easily a violent/short/quick, etc. temper He must learn to control his temper. She broke the plates in a fit of temper. After an hour of waiting, tempers began to fray (= people began to get angry). See related entries: Anger
  2. 2[countable, usually singular] a short period of feeling very angry to fly into a temper She says awful things when she's in a temper. Some small children have terrible temper tantrums.
  3. 3[countable] the way that you are feeling at a particular time synonym mood Come back when you're in a better temper. to be in a bad/foul, etc. temper
  4. 4-tempered (in adjectives) having a particular type of temper good-/bad-tempered a sweet-tempered child You will find other compounds ending in -tempered at their place in the alphabet.
  5. Word OriginOld English temprian ‘bring something into the required condition by mixing it with something else’, from Latin temperare ‘mingle, restrain’. Sense development was probably influenced by Old French temprer ‘to temper, moderate’. The noun originally denoted a proportionate mixture of elements or qualities, also the combination of the four bodily humours, believed in medieval times to be the basis of temperament, hence senses (1) to (3) (late Middle English). Compare with temperament.Extra examples Frayed tempers at the end of the match led to three players being sent off. He broke the chair in a fit of violent temper. He had to learn to keep his temper under control before he could become a teacher. He has a nasty temper. He stormed out of the room in a temper. I only just managed to keep my temper with him. I wasn’t in the best of tempers when I arrived at the meeting. Peter’s comments were responsible for her ill temper. She loses her temper at the drop of a hat. She loses her temper easily. She regained her good temper after a chat. Tempers flared as the traffic jam became worse. After an hour of waiting tempers began to fray. He has a short/​quick temper. She says awful things when she’s in a temper. You must learn to control your temper.Idioms
    lose/keep your temper (with somebody)
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    to fail/manage to control your anger She lost her temper with a customer and shouted at him. I struggle to keep my temper with the kids when they misbehave.
    to become angry easily
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: temper