Definition of tempo in English:



  • 1Music
    The speed at which a passage of music is or should be played.

    • ‘The fast tempo music was replaced by a soft ballad.’
    • ‘He worked with the pianist to get the tempi of the music precisely right.’
    • ‘Listening to music with a slow tempo helps calm the mind.’
    • ‘Clapping her hands she set the tempo for the music.’
    • ‘I tend to like dramatic music with contrasts in tempo and instrumentation.’
    cadence, speed, rhythm, beat, time, pulse
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  • 2The rate or speed of motion or activity; pace.

    ‘the tempo of life dictated by a heavy workload’
    • ‘The skiers maintain the same pace and tempo.’
    • ‘He is constantly looking to dictate the tempo.’
    • ‘He forced the pace and tempo of the affair throughout.’
    • ‘The tempo of economic activity has slowed.’
    • ‘Reports are filtering in this week of an increase in pace and tempo.’
    • ‘I laughed as we continued to dance, our tempo speeding up more as we went along.’
    • ‘His tempos are often very quick, and he is not easy to follow.’
    • ‘Had I been allowed to up the tempo it might have been a different result.’
    • ‘He wants to maintain the tempo of his activities at a high level.’
    • ‘He was dictating the pace and tempo of the fight in these rounds.’
    • ‘The tempo of diplomatic activity increased.’
    • ‘It's a creepy little dance, with the tempo constantly changing.’
    • ‘The tempo and pace of the game had increased.’
    • ‘My whole body gets into the rhythm and tempo of the motion I'm going to use.’
    • ‘The novel's leisurely pace picks up tempo and tension towards the middle.’
    • ‘They upped the tempo in the second half.’
    • ‘The key is to choose a weight with which you're able to control the tempo and range of motion.’
    • ‘The team is dictating the tempo and enjoying success in every aspect of its offense.’
    • ‘You are used to dominating a race, increasing and decreasing the tempo when you like.’
    • ‘His heart's tempo was picking up.’
    pace, rate, speed, velocity
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Mid 17th century (as a fencing term denoting the timing of an attack): from Italian, from Latin tempus time.