Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

distress

[dih-stres]
See more synonyms for distress on Thesaurus.com
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.
Show More
adjective
  1. afflicted with or suffering distress: distress livestock; distress wheat.
  2. caused by or indicative of distress or hardship: distress prices; distress borrowing.
Show More
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.
Show More

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

See more synonyms for distress on Thesaurus.com
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 distresses

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for distresses

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
Show More
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
Show More
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 distresses

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.

Show More

distress

v.

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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

distresses in Medicine

distress

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