Definition of "distress" []

  • To cause strain, anxiety, or suffering to. See Synonyms at trouble. (verb-transitive)
  • Law To hold the property of (a person) against the payment of debts. (verb-transitive)
  • To mar or otherwise treat (an object or fabric, for example) to give the appearance of an antique or of heavy prior use: "There are the fakes—new rugs which have been intentionally distressed for an older look” ( Hatfield MA Valley Advocate). (verb-transitive)
  • Archaic To constrain or overcome by harassment. (verb-transitive)
  • Anxiety or mental suffering. (noun)
  • To cause mental pain to; upset badly (verb)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • To subject to financial or other trouble (verb)
  • To damage (esp furniture), as by scratching or denting it, in order to make it appear older than it is (verb)
  • To compel (verb)
  • Mental pain; anguish (noun)
  • The act of distressing or the state of being distressed (noun)
  • Physical or financial trouble (noun)
  • The seizure and holding of property as security for payment of or in satisfaction of a debt, claim, etc; distraint (noun)
  • The property thus seized (noun)
  • (as modifier) (noun) (c) HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2016

Use "distress" in a sentence
  • "But had he put the thing thus plainly, the fact itself would have been doubted; that _the sight of our friends in distress raises in us greater fear for ourselves than the sight of others in distress_."
  • "If someone gets in distress from the heat they can ask that the flap be opened for them to leave but the round is then started over from the beginning."
  • "Carl: Nations have been in distress from the days of Julius Caesar."