- great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble.
- a state of extreme necessity or misfortune.
- the state of a ship or airplane requiring immediate assistance, as when on fire in transit.
- that which causes pain, suffering, trouble, danger, etc.
- liability or exposure to pain, suffering, trouble, etc.; danger: a damsel in distress.
- the legal seizure and detention of the goods of another as security or satisfaction for debt, etc.; the act of distraining.
- the thing seized in distraining.
- to dent, scratch, or stain (furniture, lumber, or the like) so as to give an appearance of age.
- afflicted with or suffering distress: distress livestock; distress wheat.
- caused by or indicative of distress or hardship: distress prices; distress borrowing.
verb (used with object)
- to afflict with great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; trouble; worry; bother.
- to subject to pressure, stress, or strain; embarrass or exhaust by strain: to be distressed by excessive work.
- to compel by pain or force of circumstances: His suffering distressed him into committing suicide.
- to cause mental pain to; upset badly
- (usually passive) to subject to financial or other trouble
- to damage (esp furniture), as by scratching or denting it, in order to make it appear older than it is
- law a less common word for distrain
- archaic to compel
- mental pain; anguish
- the act of distressing or the state of being distressed
- physical or financial trouble
- in distress (of a ship, aircraft, etc) in dire need of help
- the seizure and holding of property as security for payment of or in satisfaction of a debt, claim, etc; distraint
- the property thus seized
- US(as modifier)distress merchandise
late 13c., “circumstance that causes anxiety or hardship,” from Old French destresse, from Vulgar Latin *districtia “restraint, affliction, narrowness, distress,” from Latin districtus, past participle of distringere “draw apart, hinder,” also, in Medieval Latin “compel, coerce,” from dis- “apart” (see dis-) + stringere “draw tight, press together” (see strain (v.)). Meaning “anguish, suffering; grief” is from c.1300.
- Mental or physical suffering or anguish.
- Severe strain resulting from exhaustion or trauma.