- 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.
verb (used with object)
- distress call,
- distress flag,
- distress frequency,
- distress gun,
- distress merchandise
Origin of distress
Examples from the Web for distressing
The girls send a cry for help…the situation of these girls is distressing.Jihadis Release New Year’s Eve Video of Italian Female Hostages|Jamie Dettmer, Barbie Latza Nadeau|January 2, 2015|DAILY BEAST
In one of the most distressing events of the year, nerd entitlement hit 100.10 Things That Made Us Want to Turn Off the Internet Forever in 2014|The Daily Beast|December 15, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The health care workers, too, face “distressing” conditions.
The current lack of available Simpsons clips online is distressing.A 200-Hour ‘Simpsons’ Marathon? That’s Unpossible!|Rich Goldstein|July 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST
What is distressing, however, is that our political system does not work that way.The Supreme Court Has Given Us a Government Of, By, and For the 1 Percent|Geoffrey R. Stone|June 3, 2014|DAILY BEAST
His throat was not distressing him, and his voice was much better and stronger than usual.Chapters from My Autobiography|Mark Twain
Every now and then a piercing cry rose above the constant undercurrent of moans, and the sobbing was distressing in the extreme.With Haig on the Somme|D. H. Parry
So dense was the distressing cloud that it was impossible at times to see the length of a company.Miss Ravenel's conversion from secession to loyalty|J. W. de Forest
The most distressing thing was that we had not a riding-habit in the family.The Short Works of George Meredith|George Meredith
It often happens in these distressing catastrophes that the one only course open is the least palatable.Johnny Ludlow, Second Series|Mrs. Henry Wood
- 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 for distress
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.