Definition of temporize in English:


(also temporise)


  • Avoid making a decision or committing oneself in order to gain time:

    ‘the opportunity was missed because the queen still temporized’
    • ‘There have been times in the past when they temporized, stumbled, or failed to advance their agendas.’
    • ‘Moderate leaders continue to temporize and avoid coming to grips with extremists.’
    • ‘He finally grew impatient with his temporizing and commenced military operations.’
    • ‘He has been temporizing, casting about for a strategy.’
    • ‘They were not negotiating in good faith but were, rather, temporising.’
    • ‘The council had temporized on quite crucial decisions.’
    • ‘He needs to be seen as a leader making bold strokes where others are temporizing.’
    • ‘They exercised verbal terror against politicians, making them temporize and postpone the solution.’
    • ‘He will probably try to do what he always has done: make no clear choice and temporize.’
    • ‘Leaders temporize and dither for short-term advantage.’
    • ‘Left in charge, he temporized, agonized, and cursed the fates.’
    • ‘The prime minister temporized and allowed things to drift.’
    • ‘Louis did not exactly say no, but he temporized and did not say yes, either.’
    • ‘Liberals are classified as weak, insipid, temporizing, and unprincipled.’
    • ‘They temporize only when political factors prohibit action.’
    • ‘It's just not a solution to the problem, it's just a way of temporizing.’
    equivocate, procrastinate, play for time, play a waiting game, stall, use delaying tactics, avoid committing oneself, avoid making a decision, delay, hang back, beat about the bush, be evasive, prevaricate, be indecisive, hesitate
    hum and haw
    kick the can down the road
    tergiversate, use fabian tactics
    View synonyms


Late 16th century: from French temporiser bide one's time, from medieval Latin temporizare to delay, from Latin tempus, tempor- time.