From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary


noun, plural: temperaments

(1) Internal constitution; state with respect to the relative proportion of different qualities, or constituent parts.

(2) Condition with regard to heat or cold; temperature.

(3) The tendency to become irritable or angry.

(4) Disposition of an individual.

(5) (psychology)The distinctive mode of thinking, behaving, or reacting of an individual to its surroundings.


It was previously thought that the temperaments were due caused by the imbalance and predominance in proportions of one of the four basic humors: black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood.

More recently, with the emphasis on the biological basis of personality, the relationship between temperament and character has been examined with renewed interest.

Word origin: temperament < from Latin temperamentum "proper mixture," from temperare "to mix".

Related terms: temperament theory.