• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to constrain by seizing and holding goods, etc., in pledge for rent, damages, etc., or in order to obtain satisfaction of a claim.
  2. to levy a distress upon.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to levy a distress.
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Origin of distrain

1250–1300; Middle English distreinen < Anglo-French, Old French destreindre < Latin distringere to stretch out, equivalent to di- di-2 + stringere to draw tight; see strain1
Related formsdis·train·a·ble, adjectivedis·train·ee, noundis·train·ment, noundis·trai·nor, dis·train·er, nounun·dis·trained, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for distrain

Historical Examples of distrain

  • But the answer was returned that "he had nothing whereon to distrain."

    Shakespeare's Family

    Mrs. C. C. Stopes

  • It was not long before the lawyer came to distrain for tithe.

    The Cornish Coast (South)

    Charles G. Harper

  • A shrug of the shoulders from Meadows had caused the landlord to distrain.

  • And God will make it dearer to you, if you put him to distrain on you for duty.

  • After which the visitor informed Hirschler that he had come to distrain.

    An Englishman in Paris

    Albert D. (Albert Dresden) Vandam

British Dictionary definitions for distrain


  1. law to seize (personal property) by way of distress
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Derived Formsdistrainable, adjectivedistrainment, noundistrainor or distrainer, noun

Word Origin for distrain

C13: from Old French destreindre, from Latin distringere to impede, from dis- 1 + stringere to draw tight
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