Definition of Distress

1. Noun. Psychological suffering. "The death of his wife caused him great distress"

Exact synonyms: Hurt, Suffering
Generic synonyms: Pain, Painfulness
Specialized synonyms: Anguish, Torment, Torture, Self-torment, Self-torture, Tsoris, Wound
Derivative terms: Hurt, Hurt, Suffer

2. Verb. Bring into difficulties or distress, especially financial hardship.
Exact synonyms: Straiten
Generic synonyms: Bother, Discommode, Disoblige, Incommode, Inconvenience, Put Out, Trouble

3. Noun. A state of adversity (danger or affliction or need). "She was the classic maiden in distress"
Specialized synonyms: Anguish, Pressure, Throe
Generic synonyms: Adversity, Hard Knocks, Hardship

4. Verb. Cause mental pain to. "The bad news will distress him"; "The news of her child's illness distressed the mother"
Generic synonyms: Disturb, Trouble, Upset
Specialized synonyms: Besiege

5. Noun. Extreme physical pain. "The patient appeared to be in distress"
Generic synonyms: Hurting, Pain

6. Noun. The seizure and holding of property as security for payment of a debt or satisfaction of a claim. "Originally distress was a landlord's remedy against a tenant for unpaid rents or property damage but now the landlord is given a landlord's lien"
Exact synonyms: Distraint
Generic synonyms: Seizure

Definition of Distress

1. n. Extreme pain or suffering; anguish of body or mind; as, to suffer distress from the gout, or from the loss of friends.

2. v. t. To cause pain or anguish to; to pain; to oppress with calamity; to afflict; to harass; to make miserable.

Definition of Distress

1. Noun. (Cause of) discomfort. ¹

2. Noun. Serious danger. ¹

3. Noun. (legal) A seizing of property without legal process to force payment of a debt. ¹

4. Verb. To cause strain or anxiety to someone. ¹

5. Verb. (legal) To retain someone’s property against the payment of a debt; to distrain. ¹

6. Verb. To treat an object, such as an antique, to give it an appearance of age. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Distress

1. to cause anxiety or suffering to [v -ED, -ING, -ES]

Medical Definition of Distress

1. 1. Extreme pain or suffering; anguish of body or mind; as, to suffer distress from the gout, or from the loss of friends. "Not fearing death nor shrinking for distress." (Shak) 2. That which occasions suffering; painful situation; misfortune; affliction; misery. "Affliction's sons are brothers in distress." (Burns) 3. A state of danger or necessity; as, a ship in distress, from leaking, loss of spars, want of provisions or water, etc. 4. The act of distraining; the taking of a personal chattel out of the possession of a wrongdoer, by way of pledge for redress of an injury, or for the performance of a duty, as for nonpayment of rent or taxes, or for injury done by cattle, etc. The thing taken by distraining; that which is seized to procure satisfaction. "If he were not paid, he would straight go and take a distress of goods and cattle." (Spenser) "The distress thus taken must be proportioned to the thing distrained for." (Blackstone) Abuse of distress. See Abuse. Synonym: Affliction, suffering, pain, agony, misery, torment, anguish, grief, sorrow, calamity, misfortune, trouble, adversity. See Affliction. Origin: OE. Destresse, distresse, OF. Destresse, destrece, F. Detresse, OF. Destrecier to distress, (assumed) LL. Districtiare, fr. L. Districtus, p. P. Of distringere. See Distrain, and cf. Stress. Source: Websters Dictionary (01 Mar 1998)

Distress Pictures

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Lexicographical Neighbors of Distress

distress (current term)
distress call
distress signal

Literary usage of Distress

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon (1899)
"Salvian has described their distress and rebellion in very forcible language. Itaque nomen civium Romanorum . . . nunc ultro repudia- tur ac ..."

2. Archbold's Parish Officer and Shaw's Parish Law by James Paterson, John Frederick Archbold, Joseph Shaw (1864)
"Warrant of distress, 309. Costs, 310. Commitment in default of distress, 310. Tender of rate and costs, 311. How, where an appeal it pending, 311. ..."

3. Supplement to Burn's Justice of the Peace and Parish Officer: From January by Thomas William Saunders, Richard Burn (1849)
"(c) Where the issuing of n distress warrant would be ruinous to the defendant or his family, or it appear* that he has no goods ..."

4. Systematic Arrangement of Lord Coke's First Institute of the Laws of England by John Henry Thomas, Sir Thomas Littleton, Francis Hargrave, Heneage Finch Nottingham, Edward Coke, Matthew Hale (1836)
"10 ¡g taken is out of his fee, for now in judgment of law the distress is gi'fci.'ss.'i'a' taken within his fee, and so shall the writ of ..."

5. Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World by Jonathan Swift (1894)
"The Author in distress for want of Meat, Manner of feeding in this Country. HAVING travelled about three Miles, we ( of Building, made of Timber, ..."

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