distemper

verb (1)
dis·​tem·​per | \ dis-ˈtem-pər How to pronounce distemper (audio) \
distempered; distempering; distempers

Definition of distemper

 (Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to throw out of order
2 archaic : derange, unsettle

distemper

noun (1)

Definition of distemper (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : bad humor or temper
2 : a disordered or abnormal bodily state especially of quadruped mammals: such as
a : a highly contagious virus disease of canines and especially of dogs that is caused by a morbillivirus (species Canine morbillivirus) and is marked by fever, leukopenia, and respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological symptoms

called also canine distemper

b : strangles
3 : ailment, disorder vice and folly are situated not in human nature … but in distempers of intellect— George Stade

distemper

noun (2)

Definition of distemper (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : a process of painting in which the pigments are mixed with an emulsion of egg yolk, with size, or with white of egg as a vehicle and which is used for painting scenery and murals
2a : the paint or the prepared ground used in the distemper process
b : a painting done in distemper
3 : any of various water-based paints

distemper

verb (2)
distempered; distempering; distempers

Definition of distemper (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

: to paint in or with distemper

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Other Words from distemper

Noun (1)

distemperate \ dis-​ˈtem-​p(ə-​)rət How to pronounce distemper (audio) \ adjective

First Known Use of distemper

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (1)

1546, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

circa 1873, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for distemper

Verb (1)

Middle English distempren, distemperen "(in medieval physiology) to upset the proper balance of the humors, (of the body) be upset by improper balance of the humors, be diseased, (of a person) be indisposed, anger, (in medicine) to blend (two ingredients), dissolve, dilute, moisten," borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French destemprer, destemperer, destremper "to mix together (ingredients, colors), prepare (a potion), moisten, cleanse" (also continental Old & Middle French, "to soften, dilute"), borrowed from Medieval Latin distemperāre "to affect (climate, the body) by disproportionate mixture, mix, soak," going back to Late Latin, "to mix (with another liquid), temper, mix badly," from Latin dis- dis- + temperāre "to bring to a proper strength by mixing" — more at temper entry 2

Noun (1)

probably in part noun derivative of distemper entry 1, in part from dis- + temper entry 1

Noun (2)

probably borrowed (with conformation to distemper entry 2) from Middle French destrempre "pigment prepared by the distemper process," noun derivative of destremper "to soften, dilute, prepare by mixing or diluting (a drink, mortar)," going back to Old French destemprer — more at distemper entry 1

Verb (2)

derivative of distemper entry 3

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Time Traveler for distemper

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The first known use of distemper was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Distemper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distemper. Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for distemper

distemper

noun
dis·​tem·​per | \ dis-ˈtem-pər How to pronounce distemper (audio) \

Medical Definition of distemper

: a disordered or abnormal bodily state especially of quadruped mammals: as
a : a highly contagious virus disease especially of dogs that is marked by fever, leukopenia, and respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological symptoms and that is caused by a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus (species Canine morbillivirus)

called also canine distemper

b : strangles
d : a severe frequently fatal infectious nasopharyngeal inflammation of rabbits

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