: a disordered or abnormal bodily state especially of quadruped mammals: such as
: 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
The affidavit said five of the dogs had no veterinary history, five had expired rabies/distemper vaccines exceeding two year and that four of the dogs had never received a rabies/distemper vaccine.—Steven Goode, courant.com, 17 Aug. 2020 After nearing extinction amid an epidemic of distemper, the population has rebounded to about 2,000.—Louis Sahagún, Los Angeles Times, 1 Oct. 2023 The population is largely healthy, though the Yellowstone wolves have suffered from diseases like distemper and a skin infection known as sarcoptic mange, which is transmitted by mites.—Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Aug. 2023 And there was a recent distemper outbreak, which forced them to limit the amount of space available.—Dallas News, 11 July 2022 The clinic will offer distemper and Bordetella for dogs, distemper for cats, and rabies vaccines for dogs, cat, and ferrets.—Katia Parks, Baltimore Sun, 14 July 2023 Dogs recently housed in its shelter tested positive for distemper, an incurable and often fatal disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems, the Humane Society said on Facebook.—Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, 1 July 2021 The organization also vaccinated 150 dogs in 2021 against distemper and some 2,000 wild ones against rabies, which can spread to red pandas.—Matt Hrodey, Discover Magazine, 9 May 2023 The number continues to decrease due to human conflict, habitat fragmentation and widespread diseases such as distemper and rabies.—Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, 28 Aug. 2020 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'distemper.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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
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
: a disordered or abnormal bodily state especially of quadruped mammals: as
: 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)