1) As a verb it could mean to intoxicate, get drunk.

1616 a man for ... using to distemper himselfe with drinkinge, Hutton Bushell. The noun could also refer to health disorders, and both meanings occur in the following example: 1650 Dr Robert Ashton ... hath no licence for practizeing of physicke ... and many have died ... under his cure ... he is almost every day distempered with drincke and soe very unfitt to cure the distempers of others, Aiskew. It was used particularly to refer to animal diseases: 1747 the distemper now raging among horned cattle, Holmfirth.

dates 1616 1650

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