• WordNet 3.6
    • v distemper paint with distemper
    • n distemper a method of painting in which the pigments are mixed with water and a binder; used for painting posters or murals or stage scenery
    • n distemper a painting created with paint that is made by mixing the pigments with water and a binder
    • n distemper paint made by mixing the pigments with water and a binder
    • n distemper an angry and disagreeable mood
    • n distemper any of various infectious viral diseases of animals
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Distemper A morbid state of the animal system; indisposition; malady; disorder; -- at present chiefly applied to diseases of brutes; as, a distemper in dogs; the horse distemper; the horn distemper in cattle. "They heighten distempers to diseases."
    • Distemper (Paint) A painting done with this preparation.
    • Distemper (Paint) A preparation of opaque or body colors, in which the pigments are tempered or diluted with weak glue or size (cf. Tempera) instead of oil, usually for scene painting, or for walls and ceilings of rooms.
    • Distemper An undue or unnatural temper, or disproportionate mixture of parts.
    • Distemper Morbid temper of the mind; undue predominance of a passion or appetite; mental derangement; bad temper; ill humor. "Little faults proceeding on distemper .""Some frenzy distemper had got into his head."
    • Distemper Political disorder; tumult.
    • Distemper Severity of climate; extreme weather, whether hot or cold. "Those countries . . . under the tropic, were of a distemper uninhabitable."
    • Distemper To deprive of temper or moderation; to disturb; to ruffle; to make disaffected, ill-humored, or malignant. "Distempered spirits."
    • Distemper To derange the functions of, whether bodily, mental, or spiritual; to disorder; to disease. "The imagination, when completely distempered , is the most incurable of all disordered faculties."
    • Distemper To intoxicate. "The courtiers reeling,
      And the duke himself, I dare not say distempered ,
      But kind, and in his tottering chair carousing."
    • Distemper (Paint) To mix (colors) in the way of distemper; as, to distemper colors with size.
    • Distemper To temper or mix unduly; to make disproportionate; to change the due proportions of. "When . . . the humors in his body ben distempered ."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • distemper To change the temper or due proportions of.
    • distemper To disease; disorder; derange the bodily or mental functions of.
    • distemper To deprive of temper or moderation; ruffle; disturb.
    • distemper To become diseased.
    • n distemper An unbalanced or unnatural temper; want of balance or proportion.
    • n distemper Disease; malady; indisposition; any morbid state of an animal body or of any part of it: now most commonly applied to the diseases of brutes.
    • n distemper Specifically.
    • n distemper A disease of young dogs, commonly considered as a catarrhal disorder. It is in general characterized by a running from the nose and eyes as one of the first and leading symptoms, and is usually accompanied by a short dry cough, and succeeded by wasting of the flesh and loss of strength and spirits.
    • n distemper Want of due temperature; severity of climate or weather.
    • n distemper Want of due balance of parts or opposite qualities and principles.
    • n distemper Ill humor; bad temper.
    • n distemper Political disorder; tumult.
    • n distemper Uneasiness; disorder of mind.
    • n distemper Synonyms Infirmity, Malady, etc. (see disease), complaint, disorder, ailment.
    • distemper Lacking self-restraint; intemperate.
    • distemper To prepare, as a pigment, for use in distemper painting.
    • n distemper A method of painting in which the colors are mixed with any binding medium soluble in water, such as yolk of egg and an equal quantity of water, yolk and white of egg beaten together and mixed with an equal quantity of milk, fig-tree sap, vinegar, wine, ox-gall, etc. Strictly speaking, distemper painting is painting in water-color with a vehicle of which yolk of egg is the chief ingredient, upon a surface usually of wood or canvas, covered with a ground of chalk or plaster mixed with gum, this ground itself being frequently called distemper. See distemper-ground. If the glutinous medium is present in too great quantity, the colors will scale off when the painting is exposed to the air, so that they should be applied in thin layers and not be retouched until they are perfectly dry.
    • n distemper A pigment prepared for painting according to this method.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Distemper dis-tem′pėr a coarse mode of painting, in which the colours are mixed in a watery glue, white of egg, &c., chiefly used in scene-painting and in staining paper for walls
    • Distemper Also Destem′per
    • n Distemper dis-tem′pėr a morbid or disorderly state of body or mind: disease, esp. of animals, specifically a typhoid inflammation of the mucous membranes of young dogs: ill-humour
    • v.t Distemper to derange the temper: to disorder or disease
    • ***


  • Ambrose Bierce
    “Enthusiasm. A distemper of youth, curable by small doses of repentance in connection with outward applications of experience.”
  • John Pym
    John Pym
    “A Parliament is that to the Commonwealth which the soul is to the body. It behooves us therefore to keep the facility of that soul from distemper.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OF. destemprer, destremper, to distemper, F. détremper, to soak, soften, slake (lime); pref. des-,L. dis-,) + OF. temprer, tremper, F. tremper, L. temperare, to mingle in due proportion. See Temper, and cf. Destemprer


In literature:

He died in distemper.
"Mary Gray" by Katharine Tynan
I forget what his distemper was; it held him a long time, and at length carried him off.
"Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin" by Benjamin Franklin
Then as to his mind, it is altogether distempered.
"Boswell's Correspondence with the Honourable Andrew Erskine, and His Journal of a Tour to Corsica" by James Boswell
CAUSE: Distemper is placed among the germ diseases, and is produced by the Streptococcus of Schutz.
"The Veterinarian" by Chas. J. Korinek
Extreme remedies are ever harsh of application; but he that is sick will by all means be rid of his distemper.
"History of the English People, Volume III (of 8)" by John Richard Green
I'm afraid it's just a little distemper.
"Campfire Girls at Twin Lakes" by Stella M. Francis
Warm water," he maintained, "drunk in abundance, is the true specific in all distempers.
"Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama" by E. Cobham Brewer
Without this vent to his distemper he became still more sullen.
"Tom Slade with the Colors" by Percy K. Fitzhugh
I have heard of that distemper before.
"Sir Ludar" by Talbot Baines Reed
He executed many works in fresco and distemper, but they have mostly perished.
"Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects, and Curiosities of Art, (Vol. 2 of 3)" by Shearjashub Spooner
Or was the speech but an allusion, born from the still lingering distemper of his brain?
"The Lone Ranche" by Captain Mayne Reid
When distempers cut off the rabbits, or the deer were scarce, the wolves were very audacious in their attacks.
"Winter Adventures of Three Boys" by Egerton R. Young
I thought that distemper had been only proper to people of quality?
"The Beaux-Stratagem" by George Farquhar
Young men are often stupid, and do not recognise their distemper till it is very ripe.
"Some Everyday Folk and Dawn" by Miles Franklin
Apropos of distempers, I am going to tell you a thing that will make you wish yourself here.
"The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. IV (of X)--Great Britain and Ireland II" by Various
This hot sun hath touched thy head with some such distemper as sped poor Master Carver.
"Standish of Standish" by Jane G. Austin
In all my searchings for the cause of her ladyship's distemper I had not lighted on the thought of Constance Pleyel.
"In Direst Peril" by David Christie Murray
My youngest little boy took the distemper the same day with myself, and died for want of care.
"The Autobiography of Madame Guyon" by Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon
So thought Alice, and her own secret chambers of imagery were strangely distempered thereby.
"Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 2 (of 2)" by John Roby
Along his burning page, distempered though it seems.
"The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 2" by George Gordon Byron

In poetry:

Thy fostring pinions, o'er my favour'd head,
(That I may 'scape those horrid perils,) spread,
And give no dangerous distemper leave
Unto thy servant's earthly part to cleave.
"A Prayer For A Clergyman, When He Goes To Visit The Sick, Or In The Time Of A Plague" by Rees Prichard
Hark ! from the battlements of yonder tower
The solemn bell has tolled the midnight hour !
Roused from drear visions of distempered sleep,
Poor Broderick wakes—in solitude to weep !
"Love And Madness" by Thomas Campbell
Why shou'd a mother be o'erwhelm'd with woe,
To see her children snatch'd away with speed,
And from the pains that plague them here below,
By some well-tim'd, some kind distemper, free'd?
"Advice To A Woman, Not To Grieve Too Much For The Death Of Her Child" by Rees Prichard
The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.
"Four Quartets 2: East Coker" by T S Eliot
Celestial visitant, once more
Thy needful presence I implore.
In pity come, and ease my grief,
Bring my distempered soul relief,
Favour thy suppliant's hidden fires,
And give me all my heart desires.
"A Hymn To Venus" by Sappho
Were that enough, bone, blood, and sinew,
The twisted brain, the fair-formed loin,
Groping for matter under the dog's plate,
Man should be cured of distemper.
For all there is to give I offer:
Crumbs, barn, and halter.
"Out Of The Sighs" by Dylan Thomas

In news:

Raccoon deaths lead to distemper discovery on Prudence Island.
Dr Tecla Myrick was here today to talk about Feline Distemper , or Feline Panleukopenia.
Two Chicago area pet stores recently sold puppies infected with distemper .
Distemper is a potentially deadly illness and is highly contagious to other dogs.
Distemper outbreak hits Ohio animal shelter.
An outbreak of distemper led an Ohio animal shelter to close for a week and put down about two dozen dogs.
Most Dog Owners Comply With Distemper Vaccines.
A nationwide survey recently revealed that 82 percent of dog owners vaccinate their pet for canine distemper virus, but 54 percent think signs of the disease are hard to detect.
Tragically, outbreaks of canine distemper and probably sylvatic plague nearly killed all of the Meeteetse ferrets .
The wounded surgeon plies the steel That questions the distempered part.
EL PASO — El Paso Animal Services reports an increase in the number of parvo and distemper cases in dogs.
Most everybody knows that their dogs should be vaccinated against distemper, parvo and other deadly diseases, even if owners don't follow throug.
Most everybody knows that their dogs should be vaccinated against distemper, parvo and other deadly diseases, even if owners don't follow through.
BRASHER FALLS – Local businesses are chipping in to help local residents get their pets vaccinated against rabies, distemper and other diseases May 12.
Gypsy is a year-old German shepherd-collie mix who is ready for a happier chapter in her life after suffering a severely fractured leg and contracting distemper, which left her with a small uncontrollable jerk in her front legs.