Please help me. I have searched all the famous dictionaries but still I can't understand when should I use it as a noun(except for political matters) and when to use it as a verb, both in place of disorder(not for painting or a disease).

Is this a common word to use nowadays except for a disease or painting?

  • I think you mean "distemperate" or even rarer "distemperature".
    – QuentinUK
    Feb 21, 2014 at 14:18
  • Hi, I don't think so :) I was looking for distemper. Oxford dictionary has no defenition for "distemperate" and "distemperature".
    – user3214
    Feb 21, 2014 at 14:29
  • 1
    I have a hunch that many people don't use distemper for anything else beside the disease or that kind of paintings, and when they do it could cause confusions. I found an interesting discussion that mentioned cat's distemper here: thecatsite.com/t/93735/a-distemper-shot-for-a-bad-temper Feb 21, 2014 at 14:43
  • @DamkerngT. Thank you very much. I agree with you. I searched "The Telegraph"s website and I must say 99 per cent of results was either about disease or painting.
    – user3214
    Feb 21, 2014 at 14:54
  • 1
    That would be an understatement! In general, I doubt that even 0.001% of all instances in recent decades would be for OED's definition 5: Derangement, disturbance, or disorder (esp. in a state or body politic) Feb 22, 2014 at 17:06

2 Answers 2


Maybe I am just not well-read enough, but at least in spoken English (I am a native of the US) I am only aware of distemper being used to refer to the disease affecting dogs.


Disorder is used to describe an illness or condition that affects function(s) of the mind or body (e.g. Anxiety Disorder), whereas distemper refers to a canine illness (e.g. Canine Distemper).

You must log in to answer this question.