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[dih-stres-fuh l] /dɪˈstrɛs fəl/
causing or involving distress:
the distressful circumstances of poverty and sickness.
full of, feeling, or indicating distress:
a distressful cry.
Origin of distressful
First recorded in 1585-95; distress + -ful
Related forms
distressfully, adverb
distressfulness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for distressful
Historical Examples
  • Your presence here is offensive to me and distressful to my niece.'

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • The voice of her weeping was like the distressful cry of the slaughtered lamb.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • Sin beautiful at the start—oh, how sad, how distressful at the last!

    The Wedding Ring T. De Witt Talmage
  • These Russian novelists have too distressful a point of view.

    Journeys to Bagdad

    Charles S. Brooks
  • At sound of a rocket the distressful cry, "A wreck, a wreck!"


    M. Pearson Thomson
  • It was a long night to me, and perhaps the most distressful one I ever spent.

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • At least we are glad to have been in China during these distressful days, just to see how they do it.

    Peking Dust Ellen N. La Motte
  • Afraid to miss his train, he did not undress on that distressful night.

    The Big Bow Mystery I. Zangwill
  • We ran a block at second speed, and no distressful noise did I hear.

    The Adventures Of A Suburbanite Ellis Parker Butler
  • Well, because it is unpleasant to mebecause it is distressful to me.

    Rejected of Men Howard Pyle
Word Origin and History for distressful

1590s, from distress + -ful. Related: Distressfully; distressfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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