• Physical or emotional discomfort, suffering, or alarm, particularly of a more acute nature.
  • A cause of such discomfort.
  • Serious danger.
  • An aversive state of stress to which a person cannot fully adapt.
  • A seizing of property without legal process to force payment of a debt.
  • The thing taken by distraining; that which is seized to procure satisfaction.



Opposite words


  • The verb is from Middle English distressen, from Old French destrecier ("to restrain, constrain, put in straits, afflict, distress"); compare French détresse. Ultimately from Medieval Latin as if *districtiare, an assumed frequentative form of Latin distringere ("to pull asunder, stretch out"), from dis- + stringere.
  • The noun is from Middle English distresse, from Old French destrece, ultimately also from Latin distringere.

Modern English dictionary

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