Quick Summary

The Latin root temp means “time.” This Latin root is the word origin of a fair number of English vocabulary words, including contemporary, temporary, and the Latin phrase tempus fugit. The root temp is easily recalled via the word tempo, as the tempo of a piece of music is the “timing” of it, that is, whether it goes at a fast or slow pace when played.

Time Is "Temp"orary

The Latin root word temp means “time.” A quick two-minute tempo for this podcast will have you learning this Latin root in no “time” at all!

A temporal life span is one bound by “time,” a condition that all life on planet Earth is governed by. People who live at the same “time” as others are contemporary with one another, living contemporaneously or at the same “time.” Unfortunately, mortal life is but a temporary event defined by a relatively short “time.” Any temp or temporary worker at a business, whose job lasts for only a limited period of “time,” will tell you how quickly that “time” goes! As people get older, they understand more and more the old Latin saying tempus fugit: “time” flies.

For all of us who have played an instrument, we know that each musical piece has a certain tempo or “time,” that is, how fast or slow it should be performed. Imagine going to a recital not having practiced the piece you were slated to play … you would be forced to play extemporaneously since you would be out of “time” to practice. If you were truly unsure about the piece you were supposed to play, you might have tried temporizing in order to gain more “time” to prepare. You could also hope for a contretemps of sorts to save the day, or an inopportune happening that interrupts the smooth flow of “time.” Only that somewhat risky wish come true could put a stop to the extemporizing or playing of the piece that you didn’t have enough “time” to prepare for in the first place!

And a tempest? A tempest or storm comes around only during certain “times” of the day or year; witness that afternoon thunderstorm that always seems to come at the same “time” of day during the summer!

Now that our allotted “time” is over, I’ll take no more of your “time” so that you can be on “time” for whatever temporary event is up next for you!

  1. temporal: of “time”
  2. contemporary: of “time” spent together
  3. contemporaneous: of “time” spent together
  4. temporary: of a short “time”
  5. temp: worker hired for a short period of “time”
  6. tempus fugit: Latin for “time” flies
  7. tempo: “timing” or speed of something
  8. extemporaneous: of being out of “time” to prepare
  9. temporize: to delay in order to gain more “time” to do something
  10. contretemps: an occurrence that goes against the smooth “timing” of a period of “time”
  11. extemporize: to play with no “time” to have prepared a piece of music
  12. tempest: storm which comes around at a certain “time”


  • temporize

    To temporize is to cause a delay in order to gain more time before making a final decision on something.

  • tempestuous

    A tempestuous storm, temper, or crowd is violent, wild, and in an uproar.

  • extemporaneous

    Something that is extemporaneous, such as an action, speech, or performance, is done without any preparation or practice beforehand.

  • temporal

    Something that is temporal deals with the present and somewhat brief time of this world.

  • contemporary

    A contemporary object exists at the same time as something else or exists at the current time.

  • contretemps

    A contretemps is a mishap or inopportune event that disrupts the flow of what is transpiring.

  • contemporaneity

    the quality of being current or of the present

  • contemporaneous

    occurring in the same period of time

  • extempore

    with little or no preparation or forethought

  • extemporize

    manage in a makeshift way

  • temp

    a worker (especially in an office) hired on a temporary basis

  • tempest

    a violent commotion or disturbance

  • tempo

    (music) the speed at which a composition is to be played

  • temporary

    not permanent

Related Word Sums

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