Could anyone please tell me what the difference is? I hear that temper is a bad mood. Does that suggest that temper is negative in itself? (then, how about sweet-tempered?)
"Temper" as a noun may not mean bad mood. One can have an even temper or a good temper. (One can lose one's temper.)
A couple of quotations:
Peter S. Beagle, Quarry, 2004Wonderful, what weeks of flight can do for a naturally mild temper.
Deanna Raybourn, The dead travel fast, 2010Keeping my hands entwined with hers, I told her about the funeral, recounting the eulogium and the remarks of the clergyman on Grandfather's excellent temper, his scholarly reputation, his liberality.
Michael Lowenthal, An expert in excommunication, 2002I ordered the farmer's special: three pancakes, three eggs, a side of scrapple. (In Lancaster County, appetite trumps diplomas.) Beulah asked for coffee-no sugar, no cream-and, as an afterthought, two eggs. Waiting for the food, she barely spoke. Shyness around an unfamiliar man? Maybe shame? Or the meek temper of Gelassenheit. It's the personal submission the Amish strive for-self-denial for community's sake -- and a lack of it was Beulah's supposed crime.
"Temper" is however far more often used to mean bad mood than just mood.
***** A NON-TEACHER's COMMENT *****
(1) I agree that usually "temper" has a negative connotation.
(2) For example, I know someone who loses his temper quite
quickly. Sometimes when he goes to a store (where, for example,
the sales associates -- a nice term for "clerks" -- are rude), I will
often say to him:
"Watch your temper." ( = Don't let those clerks make you angry.)
I would never say: Don't lose your mood. (That would sound
There are some exceptions like even-tempered.