- great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble.
- a state of extreme necessity or misfortune.
- the state of a ship or airplane requiring immediate assistance, as when on fire in transit.
- that which causes pain, suffering, trouble, danger, etc.
- liability or exposure to pain, suffering, trouble, etc.; danger: a damsel in distress.
- the legal seizure and detention of the goods of another as security or satisfaction for debt, etc.; the act of distraining.
- the thing seized in distraining.
- to dent, scratch, or stain (furniture, lumber, or the like) so as to give an appearance of age.
- afflicted with or suffering distress: distress livestock; distress wheat.
- caused by or indicative of distress or hardship: distress prices; distress borrowing.
- to afflict with great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; trouble; worry; bother.
- to subject to pressure, stress, or strain; embarrass or exhaust by strain: to be distressed by excessive work.
- to compel by pain or force of circumstances: His suffering distressed him into committing suicide.
Origin of distress
SynonymsSee more synonyms for distress on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for distresses
It distresses me especially in the last few days that they may have been deprived of the opportunity to be adopted by our family.Russia’s Adoption Ban Is Cruel and Vindictive to All
Dr. Jane Aronson
December 29, 2012
My heart, as I have heretofore said, is a sincere sharer in all your distresses.Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
If well, whose modesty is it he distresses, but that of his own wife?Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)
Everything that I have heard just now distresses me beyond measure.A Comedy of Marriage and Other Tales
Guy De Maupassant
What distresses him is to see that you have an aversion for him.The Memoirs of Madame de Montespan, Complete
Madame La Marquise De Montespan
I will not lay my hands upon you again, since it distresses you.Abbe Mouret's Transgression
- to cause mental pain to; upset badly
- (usually passive) to subject to financial or other trouble
- to damage (esp furniture), as by scratching or denting it, in order to make it appear older than it is
- law a less common word for distrain
- archaic to compel
- mental pain; anguish
- the act of distressing or the state of being distressed
- physical or financial trouble
- in distress (of a ship, aircraft, etc) in dire need of help
- the seizure and holding of property as security for payment of or in satisfaction of a debt, claim, etc; distraint
- the property thus seized
- US(as modifier)distress merchandise
Word Origin and History for distresses
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.
- Mental or physical suffering or anguish.
- Severe strain resulting from exhaustion or trauma.