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Word of the Day : Distemper. If you temper something, you soften or dilute it by mixing in something else. You might, for example, temper wine with water or temper judgment with mercy. But what if you add the wrong thing and just end up with a big mess? That's the general idea behind distemper, which came to English in the 14th century from Late Latin distemperare ("to mix badly").


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