James W. Freeman, United States District Attor...
James W. Freeman, United States District Attorney, Helena, Montana. (1911) (Photo credit: Butte-Silver Bow Public Library)

\in-TEM-puh-rut\ adjective

1 : not moderate or mild : severe 2 : lacking or showing lack of restraint 3 : given to excessive use of alcoholic beverages


The journalist eventually apologized for her intemperate rant against the governor.

“Judge Dougan was forced to defend himself not for even a hint of corruption or intemperate behavior, but merely because the district attorney disagreed with his decisions.” — From a letter to the editor by John Amabile in The Boston Globe, January 13, 2013

Did you know?

“Intemperate” means more or less “not well tempered”—and that definition also provides a clue about its origins. The word derives from Latin “intemperatus,” formed by combining “in” with a form of the verb “temperate,” meaning “to temper” or “to mix.” Both “intemperate” and its antonym “temperate” entered the English language in the 14th century. Other “temperare” words include “distemper,” “temperament,” “temperature,” “temperance,” and “temper” itself. Synonyms of “intemperate” in the sense of “not controlled” include “unbounded,” “unbridled,” “unrestrained,” and “unchecked.”


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