If no one is dancing at your party, you probably want to put on some music with a faster tempo — meaning a faster speed.

The word tempo came into English by way of Italian, tracing all the way back to the Latin word tempus, meaning time. It was originally used to describe the timing of music, or the speed at which a piece of music is played. For example, a soothing song would be described as a slow tempo song. Tempo is still used in this way to describe music, but you’ll also hear it used to refer to pace or speed in general, as in — "the increased tempo at the end of a close basketball game" or "the slow tempo of action in a novel."

Definitions of tempo
  1. noun
    (music) the speed at which a composition is to be played
    synonyms: pacing
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    a gradually increasing tempo of music
    a quicker tempo than andante but not as fast as allegro
    a brisk and lively tempo
    a moderately slow tempo (a walking pace)
    meno mosso
    played at reduced speed; less rapid
    a flexible tempo; not strictly on the beat
    allegro con spirito
    lively with spirit
    type of:
    musical time
    (music) the beat of musical rhythm
  2. noun
    the rate of some repeating event
    synonyms: pace
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    M.M., beats per minute, bpm, metronome marking
    the pace of music measured by the number of beats occurring in 60 seconds
    type of:
    a magnitude or frequency relative to a time unit
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