• WordNet 3.6
    • n temperament an adjustment of the intervals (as in tuning a keyboard instrument) so that the scale can be used to play in different keys
    • n temperament your usual mood "he has a happy disposition"
    • n temperament excessive emotionalism or irritability and excitability (especially when displayed openly)
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Temperament (Mus) A system of compromises in the tuning of organs, pianofortes, and the like, whereby the tones generated with the vibrations of a ground tone are mutually modified and in part canceled, until their number reduced to the actual practicable scale of twelve tones to the octave. This scale, although in so far artificial, is yet closely suggestive of its origin in nature, and this system of tuning, although not mathematically true, yet satisfies the ear, while it has the convenience that the same twelve fixed tones answer for every key or scale, C♯ becoming identical with D♭, and so on.
    • Temperament Condition with regard to heat or cold; temperature. "Bodies are denominated “hot” and “cold” in proportion to the present temperament of that part of our body to which they are applied."
    • Temperament Due mixture of qualities; a condition brought about by mutual compromises or concessions. "However, I forejudge not any probable expedient, any temperament that can be found in things of this nature, so disputable on their side."
    • Temperament Internal constitution; state with respect to the relative proportion of different qualities, or constituent parts. "The common law . . . has reduced the kingdom to its just state and temperament ."
    • Temperament The act of tempering or modifying; adjustment, as of clashing rules, interests, passions, or the like; also, the means by which such adjustment is effected. "Wholesome temperaments of the rashness of popular assemblies."
    • Temperament (Physiol) The peculiar physical and mental character of an individual, in olden times erroneously supposed to be due to individual variation in the relations and proportions of the constituent parts of the body, especially of the fluids, as the bile, blood, lymph, etc. Hence the phrases, bilious or choleric temperament, sanguine temperament, etc., implying a predominance of one of these fluids and a corresponding influence on the temperament.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n temperament State with respect to the relative proportion of qualities or constituent parts; constitution; mixture of opposite or different qualities; a condition resulting from the blending of various qualities.
    • n temperament That individual peculiarity of physical organization by which the manner of acting, feeling, and thinking of every person is permanently affected: as, a phlegmatic temperament; a sanguine temperament; the artistic temperament. Certain temperamental types have long been recognized (see the phrases below); they may serve the purposes of description, but do not represent any very well marked natural groups.
    • n temperament A middle course or an arrangement reached by mutual concession, as by a tempering of extreme claims on either side; adjustment of conflicting influences, as passions, interests, or doctrines, or the means by which such adjustment is effected; compromise.
    • n temperament Condition as to heat or cold; temperature.
    • n temperament In music, the principle or system of tuning in accordance with which the tones of an instrument of fixed intonation are tuned, or those of the voice or of an instrument of free intonation are modulated in a given case. The relative pitch of the tones of an ideal scale may be fixed with mathematical precision. An instrument tuned so as to produce such a scale, or a voice or instrument using the intervals of such a scale, is said to be tuned or modulated in pure or just temperament. So long as these tones only-are used, no further adjustment is necessary. But if modulation be attempted, so that some other tone than the original one becomes the key-note, one or more intercalary tones are required, and the relative pitch of some of the original tones has to be altered. To fit an instrument for varied modulations, therefore, either a large number of separate tones must be provided for, or the pitch of some of them must be slightly modified, so that a single tone may-serve equally well for either of two or more tones whose pitches are theoretically different. This subject is necessarily of great practical importance in the construction of keyboard-instruments, like the pianoforte and the organ. Until comparatively recently such instruments were tuned in mean-tone or mesotonic temperament, so called because based on the use of a standard whole step or mean tone, which is an interval half-way between a greater and a less major second (see second, step, and tone). This standard was applied to the tuning of twelve digitals to the octave—namely, C, C♯, D, E♭ E, F, F♯, G, G♯, A, B♭, and B; and provided for harmonious effects only in the keys (tonalities) of C, D, F, G, A, and B♭ major, and of D, G, and A minor. Other tonalities presented an intolerable deviation from pure temperament, which was called the “wolf.” As the demand for greater freedom of modulation increased, various plans were tried for using more than twelve digitals to the octave, or for distributing the “wolf” more equally. The result of the latter effort is the system of equal or even temperament, first advocated by J. S. Bach early in the eighteenth century, though not universally adopted until the middle of the nineteenth century, in which the standard interval is the mean semitone—that is, the twelfth part of an octave. This distributes the “wolf” among all the tones of the instrument, so that the only intervals exactly true are octaves. Modulation, therefore, is made equally free in all directions: but, on the other hand, all chords are more or less out of tune. The benefits of the system in the way of providing a simple keyboard for music in many tonalities are largely counterbalanced by the constant deterioration of the sense of pure intonation on the part of those who use instruments tuned in this compromise temperament. This unmistakable disadvantage, reinforced by the fact that keyboard-instruments are much used in conjunction with the voice and with instruments of free intonation, like the violin, in which a just temperament is to be expected, has led to many new experiments with keyboards of more than twelve digitals to the octave, but without any result suitable for general adoption. Temperaments are sometimes known by various technical names, usually designating the interval chosen as a unit of measurement, such as commatic, schistic, etc.
    • temperament To constitute as regards temperament.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Temperament tem′pėr-a-ment state with respect to the predominance of any quality: internal constitution or state: disposition, one of the peculiarities of physical and mental organisation which to a certain extent influence our thoughts and actions—choleric or bilious, lymphatic, nervous, sanguine: the adjustment of imperfect concords, so that the difference between two contiguous sounds is reduced to a minimum and the two appear identical—a system of compromise in the tuning of keyed instruments
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  • Tryon Edwards
    “Age does not depend upon years, but upon temperament and health. Some men are born old, and some never grow up.”
  • Henry Van Dyke
    “There is no personal charm so great as the charm of a cheerful temperament.”
  • Oscar Wilde
    “Temperament is the primary requisite for the critic -- a temperament exquisitely susceptible to beauty, and to the various impressions that beauty gives us.”
  • Iris Murdoch
    “Being good is just a matter of temperament in the end.”
  • Cyril Connolly
    “We must select the Illusion which appeals to our temperament and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy.”
  • Hector Hugh Munro
    “Children with Hyacinth's temperament don't know better as they grow older; they merely know more.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. temperamentum, a mixing in due proportion, proper measure, temperament: cf. F. tempérament,. See Temper (v. t.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. temperamentumtemperāre.


In literature:

Happiness is chiefly a matter of temperament.
"Mental Efficiency" by Arnold Bennett
Day by day she changes, not only in external beauty, but in temperament.
"Nights in London" by Thomas Burke
For Geof was of an active temperament and possessed of but scant talent for repose.
"A Venetian June" by Anna Fuller
I wondered at once that he had caught Victoria's fancy; her temperament seemed too robust for him.
"The King's Mirror" by Anthony Hope
Age is a question of temperament, just as youth is a question of health.
"The Green Carnation" by Robert Smythe Hichens
The frequency with which they may occur depends altogether upon the temperament of the boy.
"The Eugenic Marriage, Vol 2 (of 4)" by W. Grant Hague
For temperas (vehicles) many recipes are given.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 57, No. 356, June, 1845" by Various
The business is inclined to be fickle because it depends upon the female temperament.
"An African Adventure" by Isaac F. Marcosson
Within its walls were the exquisite traces of a temperament and taste that had been hers.
"The Kingdom Round the Corner" by Coningsby Dawson
These differences of custom are interesting, because they correspond to differences of temperament.
"American Sketches" by Charles Whibley

In poetry:

I am a grave poetic hen
That lays poetic eggs
And to enhance my temperament
A little quiet begs.
"Poetic Eggs" by Ezra Pound
"Now let me borrow,
For moments few, a temperament as stern
As Pluto's sceptre, that my words not burn
These uttering lips, while I in calm speech tell
How specious heaven was changed to real hell.
"Endymion: Book III" by John Keats
Our similar tastes and mutual bents
Combined to make us intimates
From our first meeting. Different states
Of interest then our temperaments
Begot. Then friendship, that abates
No love, whose self it represents.
"The Brothers" by Madison Julius Cawein

In news:

Sebera, who has worked in conservation at the BMA for more than two decades, is quick to acknowledge that her line of work calls for a certain temperament.
One temperament may be peculiarly Baroque, another Classical, still another Expressionist in quality.
Last week I scored the first presidential debate as a clear victory for Mitt Romney in terms of displaying presidential temperament.
He has title experience, and his skill set, temperament mesh perfectly with team.
Proving that talent trumps temperament, Kurt Busch signed with Furniture Row Racing on Monday for the 2013 season.
Timothy Geithner is a seasoned crisis manager with a temperament to match that of Barack Obama.
Temperament and experience make Kilmartin pick for judge.
Judicial temperament at issue in criminal court races.
Last week I scored the first presidential debate as a clear victory for Mitt Romney in terms of displaying presidential temperament .
His dad served on the Sunnyvale City Council for 16 years, which Stone said gave him the " temperament " to be a good leader on the Chico City Council.
I wrote this morning that the most important thing to watch in tonight's debate would be the evidence it gave of the candidates' temperaments , as they faced each other in the most high-stakes moment of the campaign.
Because of their training and temperament, Meyer said, retired police dogs are not put up for adoption by the public.
He has been neutered and vaccinated and has a nice temperament.
Can You Change Your Temperament.
President Barack Obama reaches for populist notes—the stress on inequality, the Buffett rule, and all that—but channeling rage is a stretch for a man of his temperament.

In science:

In the cooling-flow (CF) model of intracluster plasma, radia tive cooling causes plasma to flow towards a cluster’s center and cool to sub-x-ray tempera tures, presumably ending up as either stars, smaller compact objects, and/or cold gas.
Thermal conduction and particle transport in strong MHD turbulence, with application to galaxy-cluster plasmas
At lower redshift and higher virial tempera> 104K, electron cooling dominates—we call these Generation 2.
On the population of primordial star clusters in the presence of UV background radiation
They provide an initial selection of articles through different editors with different aims and scopes; they offer a range of editorial temperaments; they provide peer review; and they are a platform for the methodical organization, normalization, and preservation of information.
Fully Digital: Policy and Process Implications for the AAS
The just intonation actually belongs to a special class of the tuning methods called “perfect tuning” among which are also the Pythagorean tuning, mean-tone temperament, etc.
Music in Terms of Science
With the equal temperament, the frequency ratios between the two notes of all the whole steps are the same, so are that of all the half steps.
Music in Terms of Science