Definition of distemper noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//dɪˈstempə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//dɪˈstempər//
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  1. 1an infectious disease of animals, especially cats and dogs, that causes fever and coughing
  2. 2(British English) a type of paint that is mixed with water and used on walls
  3. Word Originsense 2 late Middle English (originally as a verb in the senses ‘dilute’ and ‘steep’): from Old French destremper or late Latin distemperare ‘soak’. sense 1 mid 16th cent. (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. The current sense dates from the mid 18th cent.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: distemper