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The word "temporal" is the XXX form of the word "time". What is XXX? I can't find the answer anywhere, I don't even know where to look.

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Adjective form isn't what you're looking for? – tylerharms Feb 3 '13 at 19:30
@tylerharms Post adjective/adjectival and I'll upvote it. – StoneyB Feb 3 '13 at 20:31
@StoneyB: Thanks for the support. I was a little slow on the draw. – tylerharms Feb 4 '13 at 14:39
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Where to look: temporal in ODO

The word temporal is an adjectival form of the word time.

2 relating to time

This is supported by the use of temporal in the entry for time:

Old English tīma, of Germanic origin; related to tide, which it superseded in temporal senses.

In English, any noun can theoretically be made attributive [made into what is effectively an adjective], and that quote could say "which it superseded in time senses," but there is a subtle difference.

One might talk of a time stamp indicating a particular time (for example when a photograph was taken), but to call that a temporal stamp would be unusual. Temporal indicates a relationship to time — it's almost a meta-adjective because it indicates the presence of that relationship.

This relationship is necessary because time (as in "the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole"1 rather than a particular point on that continuum) is an abstract noun, so the adjectival form indicates the abstract nature of what it's describing.

1 time, ibid.

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Hi Andrew, thanks for your informative answer. I'm not a linguist, so I can't really get a mental lock on the difference between "time stamp" and "temporal stamp" (even though I reckon the latter sounds unlikely). So, this isn't simply a matter of connotation, is it? – enobayram Feb 3 '13 at 21:31
Andrew, congratulations! I have just seen you have became a 20k user. I think you are making an excellent work on EL&U and I hope you can make the same work on ELL in the future. – user19148 Feb 3 '13 at 21:57
@enobayram Broadly, the adjective temporal relates to time as a continuous whole; the attributive time relates to a specific instant. – Andrew Leach Feb 3 '13 at 23:07

Temporal is the adjectival form of time.

Temporal can be used in place of the participled adjective time-based.

There is a time-based misalignment in the two events received by event-bus.

is akin to

There is a temporal misalignment in the two events received by event-bus.

However, you could also use the adjunct form as the adjective. An adjunct noun adjective is using a noun as an adjective:

  • cow milk
  • beef steak
  • chicken rice
  • pepperoni pizza
  • time shift


There is a time misalignment in the two events received by event-bus.

Let's analyse the word value thro its various adjectival forms:

  1. She is a value customer.
    i.e., She is a value-category customer.
  2. She is a valued customer.
    i.e., She is customer on whom we actively place value.
  3. She is a valuable customer.
    i.e., She is a customer whose value to us may not be due to our active participation.

Let's analyse time in its various adjectival forms:

  1. She is a time customer. We have various categories of products. She is a time-category customer. The product she buys is time.
  2. She is a timed customer. Her presence and activities in our e-shop is timed.
  3. She is a temporal customer. We have various categories of customers. We have product-based customers. We have impression-based customers. She is a time-based customer. She is a temporal customer. We entice her to spend not by the products she buys or the impression of products she sees, but by the temporal attachment she has to items and events in our e-shop.

Captain Picard is unable to return to Starship Enterprise for our time ceremony, because our timed monitors indicate that his shuttle is going through a temporal storm.

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It's very interesting, in "time customer", the adjective "time" qualifies the product that the customer is interested in, but in "temporal customer", "temporal" qualifies the inherent qualities of the customer. This difference seems to exist in, for instance, "space/spatial customer" as well. If both "time" and "temporal" are adjectivals, is there a more specific term for what "temporal" is, as opposed to "time"(as an adjunct noun adjective)? – enobayram Feb 3 '13 at 21:51
My hypothesis is in the indirection of the adjective-noun vector. By saying "this is a time analysis", we are focusing on "time" as the main player. However, by saying "temporal/time-based analysis", we would be focusing on "analysis". In non-adjunct cases, the adjective is the descriptor and the noun is the descriptee. In the adjunct case, the adjective is both its own descriptor and the descriptee, whilst the "described" noun is the conduit of that self-induction. – Blessed Geek Feb 3 '13 at 22:35
e.g., Today's agenda is on "Time". The agenda are time analysis, time matrices, time shift and alignments, time portals, time dissipation, time etc. Versus:- Today's agenda is on "Analysis". The agenda are temporal analysis, temporally dissipated analysis, temporal enhancement analysis, timed-event analysis, etc analysis. – Blessed Geek Feb 3 '13 at 22:44

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