I. noun Etymology: Middle English destresse, from Anglo-French destresce, from Vulgar Latin *districtia, from Latin districtus, past participle of distringere Date: 13th century 1. 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 2. a. pain or suffering affecting the body, a bodily part, or the mind ; trouble <
gastric distress
b. a painful situation ; misfortune 3. a state of danger or desperate need <
a ship in distress
Synonyms: 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
. II. transitive verb Date: 14th century 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 (as clothing or wood) deliberately to give an effect of age <
a distressed table
distressingly adverb III. adjective Date: 1926 1. offered for sale at a loss <
distress merchandise
2. involving distress goods <
a distress sale

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • distress — dis·tress n [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] 1: seizure and detention of the… …   Law dictionary

  • distress — n Distress, suffering, misery, agony, dolor, passion are comparable when denoting the state of one that is in great trouble or in pain of mind or body. Distress commonly implies conditions or circumstances that cause physical or mental stress or… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Distress — Dis*tress , n. [OE. destresse, distresse, OF. destresse, destrece, F. d[ e]tresse, OF. destrecier to distress, (assumed) LL. districtiare, fr. L. districtus, p. p. of distringere. See {Distrain}, and cf. {Stress}.] 1. Extreme pain or suffering;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • distress — dis‧tress [dɪˈstres] noun [uncountable] LAW when someone s goods are taken with the permission of a court of law so that they can be sold to pay unpaid rent, bills etc: • The corporation had a power of absolute and immediate distress in the event …   Financial and business terms

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  • distress — [di stres′] vt. [ME distressen < OFr destrecier, orig., to constrain (to do something) < destrece, constraint < ML destrescia < L districtus, pp. of distringere: see DISTRAIN] 1. to cause sorrow, misery, or suffering to; pain 2. to… …   English World dictionary

  • distress — [n1] pain, agony ache, affliction, anguish, anxiety, bad news*, blues*, care, concern, cross, dejection, desolation, disappointment, discomfort, disquietude, dolor, embarrassment, grief, headache, heartache, heartbreak, irritation, malaise,… …   New thesaurus

  • Distress — Dis*tress , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Distressed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Distressing}.] [Cf. OF. destrecier. See {Distress}, n.] 1. To cause pain or anguish to; to pain; to oppress with calamity; to afflict; to harass; to make miserable. [1913 Webster] We… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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