[ dih-stres ]
/ dɪˈstrɛs /



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)

Nearby words

  1. distrainee,
  2. distraint,
  3. distrait,
  4. distraite,
  5. distraught,
  6. distress call,
  7. distress flag,
  8. distress frequency,
  9. distress gun,
  10. distress merchandise

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)

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for distress

British Dictionary definitions for distress


/ (dɪˈstrɛs) /

verb (tr)


Derived Forms

Word Origin for distress

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 distress
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for distress


[ dĭ-strĕs ]


Mental or physical suffering or anguish.
Severe strain resulting from exhaustion or trauma.
Related formsdis•tress adj.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.