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distress

[dih-stres]
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noun
  1. great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble.
  2. a state of extreme necessity or misfortune.
  3. the state of a ship or airplane requiring immediate assistance, as when on fire in transit.
  4. that which causes pain, suffering, trouble, danger, etc.
  5. liability or exposure to pain, suffering, trouble, etc.; danger: a damsel in distress.
  6. Law.
    1. the legal seizure and detention of the goods of another as security or satisfaction for debt, etc.; the act of distraining.
    2. the thing seized in distraining.
  7. to dent, scratch, or stain (furniture, lumber, or the like) so as to give an appearance of age.
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adjective
  1. afflicted with or suffering distress: distress livestock; distress wheat.
  2. caused by or indicative of distress or hardship: distress prices; distress borrowing.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to afflict with great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; trouble; worry; bother.
  2. to subject to pressure, stress, or strain; embarrass or exhaust by strain: to be distressed by excessive work.
  3. to compel by pain or force of circumstances: His suffering distressed him into committing suicide.
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Origin of distress

1250–1300; (noun) Middle English destresse < Anglo-French distresse, destresse, Old French < Vulgar Latin *districtia, equivalent to Latin district(us) (see district) + -ia -y3; (v.) Middle English destressen < Anglo-French destresser (Old French destrecier), derivative of the noun
Related formsdis·tress·ing·ly, adverbpre·dis·tress, noun, verb (used with object)

Synonyms

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1. agony, anguish, adversity, tribulation. See sorrow. 2. need, destitution.

Antonyms

1. comfort.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for distressingly

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • In our experience hard cider is distressingly like drinking vinegar.

    Pipefuls

    Christopher Morley

  • Consuelo was determined, indignant, distressingly reproachful!

  • The future is not such a distressingly unknown quantity as it was then.

    Mary Ware's Promised Land

    Annie Fellows Johnston

  • So far the results have been distressingly uniform and hopelessly negative.

    Preventable Diseases

    Woods Hutchinson

  • Excellent people, no doubt, but distressingly shortsighted in some matters.

    Ulysses

    James Joyce


British Dictionary definitions for distressingly

distress

verb (tr)
  1. to cause mental pain to; upset badly
  2. (usually passive) to subject to financial or other trouble
  3. to damage (esp furniture), as by scratching or denting it, in order to make it appear older than it is
  4. law a less common word for distrain
  5. archaic to compel
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noun
  1. mental pain; anguish
  2. the act of distressing or the state of being distressed
  3. physical or financial trouble
  4. in distress (of a ship, aircraft, etc) in dire need of help
  5. law
    1. the seizure and holding of property as security for payment of or in satisfaction of a debt, claim, etc; distraint
    2. the property thus seized
    3. US(as modifier)distress merchandise
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Derived Formsdistressful, adjectivedistressfully, adverbdistressfulness, noundistressing, adjective, noundistressingly, adverb

Word Origin

C13: from Old French destresse distress, via Vulgar Latin, from Latin districtus divided in mind; see distrain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for distressingly

distress

n.

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.

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distress

v.

late 14c., from Old French destresser, from Vulgar Latin *districtiare (see distress (n.)). Related: Distressed; distressing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

distressingly in Medicine

distress

(dĭ-strĕs)
n.
  1. Mental or physical suffering or anguish.
  2. Severe strain resulting from exhaustion or trauma.
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Related formsdis•tress adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.