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distemper

1
[ dis-tem-per ]
/ dɪsˈtɛm pər /
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See synonyms for: distemper / distempered / distempering on Thesaurus.com

noun
Veterinary Pathology.
  1. Also called canine distemper . an infectious disease chiefly of young dogs, caused by an unidentified virus and characterized by lethargy, fever, catarrh, photophobia, and vomiting.
  2. Also called colt distemper, equine distemper, strangles . an infectious disease of horses, caused by the bacillus Streptococcus equi and characterized by catarrh of the upper air passages and the formation of pus in the submaxillary and other lymphatic glands.
  3. Also called cat distemper, feline agranulocytosis, feline distemper, feline infectious enteritis, feline panleukopenia . a usually fatal viral disease of cats, characterized by fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, leading to severe dehydration.
a deranged condition of mind or body; a disorder or disease: a feverish distemper.
disorder or disturbance, especially of a political nature.
verb (used with object)
Obsolete. to derange physically or mentally.
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Origin of distemper

1
First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English verb distemp(e)ren, destempren “to upset the balance of humors,” from Old French destemprer, from Medieval Latin distemperāre “to mix badly or in wrong proportions,” equivalent to Latin dis- dis-1 + temperāre “to mitigate, temper

OTHER WORDS FROM distemper

dis·tem·pered·ly, adverbdis·tem·pered·ness, noun

Other definitions for distemper (2 of 2)

distemper2
[ dis-tem-per ]
/ dɪsˈtɛm pər /

noun
Art.
  1. a technique of decorative painting in which glue or gum is used as a binder or medium to achieve a mat surface and rapid drying.
  2. (formerly) the tempera technique.
a painting executed by this method.
British. whitewash; calcimine.
verb (used with object)
to paint in distemper.
British. to whitewash a wall, cottage, etc.; calcimine.

Origin of distemper

2
First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English verb distemperen “to dissolve or diliute (strong medicine)”; see origin at distemper1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use distemper in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for distemper (1 of 2)

distemper1
/ (dɪsˈtɛmpə) /

noun
any of various infectious diseases of animals, esp canine distemper, a highly contagious viral disease of dogs, characterized initially by high fever and a discharge from the nose and eyesSee also hard pad, strangles
archaic
  1. a disease or disorder
  2. disturbance
  3. discontent
verb
(tr) archaic to disturb

Word Origin for distemper

C14: from Late Latin distemperāre to derange the health of, from Latin dis- 1 + temperāre to mix in correct proportions

British Dictionary definitions for distemper (2 of 2)

distemper2
/ (dɪsˈtɛmpə) /

noun
a technique of painting in which the pigments are mixed with water, glue, size, etc, used for poster, mural, and scene painting
the paint used in this technique or any of various water-based paints, including, in Britain, whitewash
verb
(tr) to mix (pigments) with water and size
to paint (something) with distemper

Word Origin for distemper

C14: from Medieval Latin distemperāre to soak, from Latin dis- 1 + temperāre to mingle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for distemper

distemper
[ dĭs-tĕmpər ]

n.
An infectious viral disease occurring in dogs, characterized by loss of appetite, a catarrhal discharge from the eyes and nose, vomiting, partial paralysis, and sometimes death.
A similar viral disease of cats characterized by fever, vomiting, diarrhea leading to dehydration, and sometimes death.
Any of various similar mammalian diseases.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for distemper

distemper
[ dĭs-tĕmpər ]

An infectious disease occurring especially in dogs, caused by the canine distemper virus of the genus Morbillivirus. It is characterized by loss of appetite, a discharge from the eyes and nose, vomiting, fever, lethargy, partial paralysis caused by destruction of myelinated nerve tissue, and sometimes death.
An infectious disease of cats caused by the feline panleukopenia virus of the genus Parvovirus, characterized by fever, vomiting, diarrhea leading to dehydration, and sometimes death.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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