noun, plural tem·pos, tem·pi [tem-pee] /ˈtɛm pi/.
- Music. relative rapidity or rate of movement, usually indicated by such terms as adagio, allegro, etc., or by reference to the metronome.
- characteristic rate, rhythm, or pattern of work or activity: the tempo of city life.
- Chess. the gaining or losing of time and effectiveness relative to one’s continued mobility or developing position, especially with respect to the number of moves required to gain an objective: Black gained a tempo.
- resuming the speed obtained preceding ritardando or accelerando.
noun plural -pos or -pi (-piː)
- the speed at which a piece or passage of music is meant to be played, usually indicated by a musical direction (tempo marking) or metronome marking
- rate or pace
- to the original tempo
- a passage thus marked
n.“relative speed of a piece of music,” 1724, from Italian tempo, literally “time” (plural tempi), from Latin tempus (genitive temporis) “time” (see temporal). Extended to non-musical senses 1898. In music, the speed at which a piece is performed. It is the Italian word for “time.”