To extemporize is to improvise, especially without preparation. When you extemporize, you’re making it up as you go along.

In some situations, you’re prepared and know exactly what you’re going to do. In others, you have to extemporize. A stand-up comedian who makes up jokes on the spot is extemporizing. If a football play breaks down, the quarterback has to scramble and extemporize by coming up with a new play. A public speaker who throws away notes and takes questions is extemporizing. Jazz musicians often extemporize. When you extemporize, even you’re not sure what you might end up doing.

Definitions of extemporize
  1. verb
    perform without preparation
    “he extemporized a speech at the wedding”
    synonyms: ad-lib, extemporise, improvise, improvize
    see moresee less
    type of:
    do, execute, perform
    carry out or perform an action
  2. verb
    manage in a makeshift way; make do with whatever is at hand
    synonyms: improvise
    see moresee less
    type of:
    contend, cope, deal, get by, grapple, make do, make out, manage
    come to terms with
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week