emotional distress

noun
emo·​tion·​al distress

Legal Definition of emotional distress 

: a highly unpleasant emotional reaction (as anguish, humiliation, or fury) which results from another's conduct and for which damages may be sought

called also emotional harm, mental anguish, mental distress, mental disturbance, mental suffering

— see also outrage, zone of danger

Note: Damages may be recoverable for emotional distress that is caused intentionally or negligently. Recovery for negligent infliction of emotional distress often requires that the plaintiff suffer a physical injury as well.

Learn More about emotional distress

Share emotional distress

Comments on emotional distress

What made you want to look up emotional distress? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!