noun dis·tress \di-ˈstres\

: unhappiness or pain : suffering that affects the mind or body

: a very difficult situation in which you do not have enough money, food, etc.

of a boat, airplane, etc. : a state of danger or desperate need

Full Definition of DISTRESS

a :  seizure and detention of the goods of another as pledge or to obtain satisfaction of a claim by the sale of the goods seized
b :  something that is distrained
a :  pain or suffering affecting the body, a bodily part, or the mind :  trouble <gastric distress>
b :  a painful situation :  misfortune
:  a state of danger or desperate need <a ship in distress>

Examples of DISTRESS

  1. Citizens voiced their distress over delays in fixing the problem.
  2. The patient showed no obvious signs of distress.
  3. He suffered severe emotional distress as a result of the accident.

Origin of DISTRESS

Middle English destresse, from Anglo-French destresce, from Vulgar Latin *districtia, from Latin districtus, past participle of distringere
First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of DISTRESS

distress, suffering, misery, agony mean the state of being in great trouble. distress implies an external and usually temporary cause of great physical or mental strain and stress <the hurricane put everyone in great distress>. suffering implies conscious endurance of pain or distress <the suffering of famine victims>. misery stresses the unhappiness attending especially sickness, poverty, or loss <the homeless live with misery every day>. agony suggests pain too intense to be borne <in agony over the death of their child>.

Other Psychology Terms

fetish, hypochondria, intelligence, mania, narcissism, neurosis, pathological, psychosis, schadenfreude, subliminal



: to worry or upset (someone)

Full Definition of DISTRESS

transitive verb
:  to subject to great strain or difficulties <homes distressed by poverty>
archaic :  to force or overcome by inflicting pain
:  to cause to worry or be troubled :  upset <don't let the news distress you>
:  to mar (as clothing or wood) deliberately to give an effect of age <a distressed table>
dis·tress·ing·ly \-ˈstre-siŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of DISTRESS

  1. <don't let all the bad news distress you>

First Known Use of DISTRESS

14th century



Definition of DISTRESS

:  offered for sale at a loss <distress merchandise>
:  involving distress goods <a distress sale>

First Known Use of DISTRESS



noun dis·tress \dis-ˈtres\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of DISTRESS

:  pain or suffering affecting the body, a bodily part, or the mind <gastric distress> <respiratory distress>


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