There are 2 definitions of distemper in English:

distemper1

Syllabification: dis·tem·per
Pronunciation: /disˈtempər
 
/

noun

  • 1A viral disease of some animals, especially dogs, causing fever, coughing, and catarrh.
    More example sentences
    • For example, parvovirus, distemper and rabies are diseases that can be vaccinated against.
    • Will the insurer cover routine wellness care, such as inoculations against distemper, rabies and other diseases?
    • The canine distemper virus causes a highly contagious disease in dogs known as distemper.
  • 2 archaic Political disorder: an attempt to illuminate the moral roots of the modern world’s distemper
    More example sentences
    • The Hamlet world's distemper, she argues, stems mostly from the way the generational/political life cycle has been upset.
    • Another reason for stalemate (or decline, as the case may be) in the stock market is the political distemper created by the major political parties.
    • At the heart of the book is James's description of the democratic temperament, which I take to be a healthy corrective to the distemper that characterizes so much of politics today.

Origin

mid 16th century (originally in the sense 'bad temper', later 'illness'): from Middle English distemper 'upset, derange', from late Latin distemperare 'soak, mix in the wrong proportions', from dis- 'thoroughly' + temperare 'mingle'. Compare with temper. sense 1 dates from the mid 18th century.

More definitions of distemper

Definition of distemper in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kəːf
noun
a slit made by cutting with a saw

There are 2 definitions of distemper in English:

distemper2

Syllabification: dis·tem·per
Pronunciation: /
 
disˈtempər/

noun

  • 1A kind of paint using glue or size instead of an oil base, for use on walls or for scene-painting.
    More example sentences
    • The kitchen gleamed from the distemper Dad had painted on its walls in contrasting shades of green and pink.
    • The walls were painted with a water-based powder distemper, usually in grass green or primrose colour.
    • Paper was printed by hand using wooden blocks and distemper paint, which dried to a soft, matt finish.
  • 1.1A method of mural and poster painting using this.
    More example sentences
    • We use camlin water colour for fine painting and distemper in general.
    • Come a ‘chaste art festival’, then the distemper art rules the roost in major spots.
    • Many of the artists, most particularly Vuillard, painted these in distemper and left them unlined and unvarnished, making them more fragile than oils on canvas.

verb

[with object] (often as adjective distempered) Back to top  
  • Paint (something) with distemper: the distempered roof timbers
    More example sentences
    • At Wissett Lodge, her rented home in Suffolk, she and Duncan distempered the walls a brilliant blue, and dyed the chair-covers with coloured ink.
    • The bedroom walls were distempered a dark, shiny green, the curtains were green with spots on and the bedspread an uninspiring khaki.

Origin

late Middle English (originally as a verb in the senses 'dilute' and 'steep'): from Old French destemprer or late Latin distemperare 'soak'.

More definitions of distemper

Definition of distemper in: