1

distress

play
noun dis·tress \ di-ˈstres \

Definition of distress

1 law
a :seizure and detention of the goods of another as pledge (see 1pledge 1) or to obtain satisfaction of a claim by the sale of the goods seized
b :something that is distrained
2 a :pain or suffering affecting the body, a bodily part, or the mind :trouble
  • gastric distress
  • The patient showed no obvious signs of distress.
  • severe emotional distress
  • voiced their distress over the delays
b :a painful situation :misfortune
3 :a state of danger or desperate need
  • a ship in distress

Examples of distress in a Sentence

  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.

Recent Examples of distress from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distress.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of distress

Middle English destresse, from Anglo-French destresce, from Vulgar Latin *districtia, from Latin districtus, past participle of distringere — see distrain

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

2

distress

verb

Definition of distress

transitive verb
1 :to subject to great strain or difficulties
  • homes distressed by poverty
2 archaic :to force or overcome by inflicting pain
3 :to cause to worry or be troubled :upset
  • don't let the news distress you
4 :to mar (something, such as clothing or wood) deliberately to give an effect of age
  • a distressed table
  • distressed jeans

distressingly

play \-ˈstre-siŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of distress in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of distress from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distress.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of distress


3

distress

adjective

Definition of distress

1 :offered for sale at a loss
  • distress merchandise
2 :involving distress goods
  • a distress sale

Origin and Etymology of distress



DISTRESS Defined for English Language Learners

distress

play
noun

Definition of distress for English Language Learners

  • : 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


distress

verb

Definition of distress for English Language Learners

  • : to worry or upset (someone)


DISTRESS Defined for Kids

1

distress

play
noun dis·tress \ di-ˈstres \

Definition of distress for Students

1 :physical or mental pain or suffering
2 :a state of danger or desperate need
  • The ship was in distress.

2

distress

verb

Definition of distress for Students

distressed; distressing
:to upset or cause to worry
  • The news distressed her.

distressingly

\di-ˈstre-siŋ-lē\ adverb

Medical Dictionary

distress

play
noun dis·tress \ dis-ˈtres \

medical Definition of distress

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

Law Dictionary

distress

noun dis·tress

legal Definition of distress

1 :seizure and detention of the goods of another as pledge or to obtain satisfaction of a claim by the sale of the goods seized; specifically :seizure by a landlord of a tenant's property to obtain satisfaction of arrearages in rent
Note: Distress is regulated by statute where available. It has been held unconstitutional by some courts.
2 :pain or suffering affecting the body, a bodily part, or the mind — see also emotional distress

Origin and Etymology of distress

Anglo-French destrece, literally, tightness, anguish, deprivation, from Old French, ultimately from Late Latin districtus severe, from past participle of distringere to hinder, punish — see distrain



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