Temerity is reckless, foolish boldness.
In other words, when you have the temerity to do something, it's always a reckless, foolish, overly bold thing to do.
tum AIR it ee
Part of speech:
It's both countable ("a temerity," "two temerities," "lots of temerities")
and uncountable ("the temerity," "such temerity," "a lot of temerity," "no temerity.")
The uncountable version seems to be much more common.
temerities, temerarious ("tem uh RARE ee us,") temerariously
How to use it:
You might look at the definition for "temerity" and start applying it to foolish decisions, as in "the temerity of wasting your life's savings on lottery tickets." I can't argue against using the word that way, since it makes sense. But usually, we apply this word to social interactions and not personal decisions. It's more common to say, for example, "the temerity of demanding a refund for food that you've already eaten."
Like with the word "audacity," you often use this phrase: "Somebody has the temerity to do something." As in, "I can't believe they had the temerity to complain so loudly about the quality of the young children's choral performance."
This word is great for sarcasm. When you say that someone had the temerity to do something very reasonable, you're emphasizing an overreaction to that action or some other unreasonable outcome. "Anyone who had the temerity to ask for an extra napkin or two was berated for destroying the environment."
But you don't have to use that phrase. Talk about someone's temerity (Mr. Darcy's temerity, their temerity, the committee members' temerity, the company's temerity) or, stated differently, the temerity of someone (the temerity of Mr. Darcy, etc.) Or, talk about temerity in general: "Their attitude toward disaster preparedness borders on temerity."
Lastly, you can talk about one temerity or multiple temerities, meaning the individual actions that are bold, reckless, stupid, and lacking foresight. But that seems pretty rare.
I can barely comprehend the temerity of the person who continues asking you for a date even after finding out that you're married.
Sometimes I can muster up the temerity to send food back to the kitchen if it was wrong. Other times, nope.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "temerity" means when you can explain it without saying "foolishness" or "recklessness."
Think of a situation in which everybody was thinking something but nobody was saying it out loud, and fill in the blanks: "When _____, no one had the temerity to (say/point out/admit/accuse, etc.) _____."
Example: "When the party kept going through dinner time, no one had the temerity to point out how insubstantial the snacks were."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
It's a new game for November!
We'll play a hand of New Word Order each day this month. It's a card game that I recently created; it involves figuring out the order in which certain words and phrases entered our language. I'll give you several words and/or phrases, and you'll use your knowledge of history, slang, technology, popular culture, fashion, psychology, etc. to put them into chronological order. Like with our other games, I'll show you the right answer to each question on the following day.
You can play New Word Order alone, or with a partner or group, in several different ways. We'll try out different ways to play as the month goes on, starting out easy and working our way toward "hard mode" by the end.
To begin, we'll play simple solo hands. For example, if I gave you "road rage," "beat poet," and "FAQ," you would give the correct order like this: "1, beat poet; 2, FAQ; 3, road rage." (There's no need to come up with the dates, but I'll list them when revealing the right answers: "beat poet" entered the language in 1955, "FAQ" in 1987, and "road rage" in 1988.)
I had so much fun making this game! If you like it, you can download and print it to play with your family and friends. (It's free, minus your printing costs.) Get it here.
So, today, try to put these terms in order from oldest to newest:
Paywall, peer review, & slomo.
A Point Well Made:
Tennessee Williams: "In memory everything seems to happen to music."
1. The opposite of TEMERITY is
2. More than just _____, this _____ requires sheer temerity.
A. heart .. effort
B. guts .. risk
C. brains .. test
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
We've looked at a bunch of words recently that let us describe the irritating things that other people say and do, and "temerity" is another. While it's certainly best to say something nice or say nothing at all, there are times when you'll definitely be thinking of these:
1. A word for people who are so greedy or so morally bankrupt that they'll do anything if the price is right: v____.
2. A word for people who are always foisting their sour, bitter, harsh worldviews on the rest of us: a______.
3. A word for people whose shyness has morphed into a cringeworthy social awkwardness: f_______.
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