[dih-stres-fuh l]


causing or involving distress: the distressful circumstances of poverty and sickness.
full of, feeling, or indicating distress: a distressful cry.

Origin of distressful

First recorded in 1585–95; distress + -ful
Related formsdis·tress·ful·ly, adverbdis·tress·ful·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for distressful

Historical Examples of distressful

  • Your presence here is offensive to me and distressful to my niece.'

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • The voice of her weeping was like the distressful cry of the slaughtered lamb.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • Sin beautiful at the start—oh, how sad, how distressful at the last!

    The Wedding Ring

    T. De Witt Talmage

  • These Russian novelists have too distressful a point of view.

    Journeys to Bagdad

    Charles S. Brooks

  • At sound of a rocket the distressful cry, "A wreck, a wreck!"


    M. Pearson Thomson

Word Origin and History for distressful

1590s, from distress + -ful. Related: Distressfully; distressfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper