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temper (verb) make less severe; harden metal by heating it and then cooling it.

To temper is to reduce the severity or the intensity of something. The innocent look of a child sometimes tempers hard-heartedness of a person. That is, the innocent face of the child makes the person less hard-hearted. The age or the sickly condition of a guilty person may temper the judge's decision to give them a severe punishment. That is, the age or the bad health of a guilty person may soften the judge into giving them a less severe punishment. We temper a metal when we make it hard, by repeatedly heating it and immediately cooling it.

  • The cloudy sky and the certain signs of rain tempered the children's excitement about going on a picnic. The cloudy sky reduced their excitement.
  • The goodness of the man tempered the desire of the robber to harm the man. It made the robber behave less cruelly towards the man.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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