Definition of tempera in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtempərə/


1A method of painting with pigments dispersed in an emulsion miscible with water, typically egg yolk. The method was used in Europe for fine painting, mainly on wood panels, from the 12th or early 13th century until the 15th, when it began to give way to oils.
Example sentences
  • A green mineral, malachite, similar to azurite in constitution and often found with it, was pulverized to form a strong mid-green pigment, particularly in tempera techniques; there was also a synthetic type.
  • To this end, students used tempera to create abstract-expressionist paintings that emphasize the visual elements of line, shape, color, rhythm and composition.
  • The omission of a discussion of the basics of oil and tempera painting is not the only place where the book seems to address an informed, if not specialist audience.
1.1The emulsion used in tempera painting.
Example sentences
  • Finally, they painted their shapes with tempera.
  • Once the buildings were complete, we painted them with tempera.
  • When the sketches were finished, the students painted them with tempera.


Mid 19th century: from Italian, in the phrase pingere a tempera 'paint in distemper'.

Words that rhyme with tempera

emperor, Klemperer, temperer

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tem·per·a

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