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Synonym Chooser

How does the noun distress differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of distress are agony, misery, and suffering. While all these words 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

When might agony be a better fit than distress?

In some situations, the words agony and distress are roughly equivalent. However, agony suggests pain too intense to be borne.

in agony over the death of their child

When is misery a more appropriate choice than distress?

While in some cases nearly identical to distress, misery stresses the unhappiness attending especially sickness, poverty, or loss.

the homeless live with misery every day

When could suffering be used to replace distress?

The synonyms suffering and distress are sometimes interchangeable, but suffering implies conscious endurance of pain or distress.

the suffering of famine victims

Thesaurus Entries Near distress

Cite this Entry

“Distress.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/distress. Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

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