2. Constitution of body; temperament; in old writers, the mixture or relative proportion of the four humors, blood, choler, phlegm, and melancholy. "The exquisiteness of his [Christ's] bodily temper increased the exquisiteness of his torment." (Fuller)
3. Disposition of mind; the constitution of the mind, particularly with regard to the passions and affections; as, a calm temper; a hasty temper; a fretful temper. "Remember with what mild And gracious temper he both heared and judged." (Milton) "The consequents of a certain ethical temper." (J. H. Newman)
7. Middle state or course; mean; medium. "The perfect lawgiver is a just temper between the mere man of theory, who can see nothing but general principles, and the mere man of business, who can see nothing but particular circumstances." (Macaulay)
8. Milk of lime, or other substance, employed in the process formerly used to clarify sugar. Temper screw, in deep well boring, an adjusting screw connecting the working beam with the rope carrying the tools, for lowering the tools as the drilling progresses.
1. To mingle in due proportion; to prepare by combining; to modify, as by adding some new element; to qualify, as by an ingredient; hence, to soften; to mollify; to assuage; to soothe; to calm. "Puritan austerity was so tempered by Dutch indifference, that mercy itself could not have dictated a milder system." (Bancroft) "Woman! lovely woman! nature made thee To temper man: we had been brutes without you." (Otway) "But thy fire Shall be more tempered, and thy hope far higher." (Byron) "She [the Goddess of Justice] threw darkness and clouds about her, that tempered the light into a thousand beautiful shades and colours." (Addison)
Synonyms: To soften, mollify, assuage, soothe, calm.
Origin: AS. Temprian or OF. Temper, F. Temperer, and (in sense 3) temper, L. Temperare, akin to tempus time. Cf. Temporal, Distemper, Tamper.
(01 Mar 1998)
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