Meaning of DISTRESS in English


I. di-ˈstres noun

Etymology: Middle English destresse, from Anglo-French destresce, from Vulgar Latin * districtia, from Latin districtus, past participle of distringere

Date: 13th century


a. : seizure and detention of the goods of another as pledge or to obtain satisfaction of a claim by the sale of the goods seized

b. : something that is distrained


a. : pain or suffering affecting the body, a bodily part, or the mind : trouble

gastric distress

b. : a painful situation : misfortune

3. : a state of danger or desperate need

a ship in distress


distress , suffering , misery , agony mean the state of being in great trouble. distress implies an external and usually temporary cause of great physical or mental strain and stress

the hurricane put everyone in great distress

suffering implies conscious endurance of pain or distress

the suffering of famine victims

misery stresses the unhappiness attending especially sickness, poverty, or loss

the homeless live with misery every day

agony suggests pain too intense to be borne

in agony over the death of their child

II. transitive verb

Date: 14th century

1. : to subject to great strain or difficulties

homes distress ed by poverty

2. archaic : to force or overcome by inflicting pain

3. : to cause to worry or be troubled : upset

don't let the news distress you

4. : to mar (as clothing or wood) deliberately to give an effect of age

a distress ed table

• dis·tress·ing·ly -ˈstre-siŋ-lē adverb

III. adjective

Date: 1926

1. : offered for sale at a loss

distress merchandise

2. : involving distress goods

a distress sale

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.