English [ edit ]
Etymology [ edit ]
The verb is from
Middle English , from distressen Old French destrecier ( “ to restrain, constrain, put in straits, afflict, distress ” ); compare French . Ultimately from détresse as if Medieval Latin , an assumed frequentative form of *districtiare Latin distringere ( “ to pull asunder, stretch out ” ), from dis- ( “ apart ” ) + stringere ( “ to draw tight, strain ” ).
The noun is from
Middle English , from distresse Old French , ultimately also from destrece Latin .
Pronunciation [ edit ]
distress ( , countable and uncountable plural )
Physical or emotional
discomfort, suffering, or alarm, particularly of a more acute nature.
1833, John Trusler, chapter 8, in The Works of William Hogarth: In a Series of Engravings :  To heighten his distress, he is approached by his wife, and bitterly upbraided for his perfidy in concealing from her his former connexions (with that unhappy girl who is here present with her child, the innocent offspring of her amours, fainting at the sight of his misfortunes, being unable to relieve him farther), and plunging her into those difficulties she never shall be able to surmount.
1967, Barbara Sleigh, , 1993 edition, Sevenoaks, Kent: Bloomsbury, Jessamy , page 122: →ISBN At any other time Jessamy would have laughed at the expressions that chased each other over his freckled face: crossness left over from his struggle with the baby; incredulity; distress; and finally delight. For more quotations using this term, see Citations:distress. A cause of such discomfort.
1719, Daniel Defoe, chapter 13, in Robinson Crusoe :  I immediately considered that this must be some ship in distress, and that they had some comrade, or some other ship in company, and fired these gun for signals of distress, and to obtain help.
1759, Voltaire, chapter 42, in Candide :  At length they perceived a little cottage; two persons in the decline of life dwelt in this desert, who were always ready to give every assistance in their power to their fellow-creatures in distress. For more quotations using this term, see Citations:distress.
( medicine ) An aversive state of stress to which a person cannot fully adapt.
( law ) A seizing of property without legal process to force payment of a debt. ( law ) The thing taken by distraining; that which is seized to procure satisfaction.
If he were not paid, he would straight go and take a distress of goods and cattle.
The distress thus taken must be proportioned to the thing distrained for.
Derived terms [ edit ]
Antonyms [ edit ]
Related terms [ edit ]
Translations [ edit ]
(cause of) discomfort
مِحْنَة f ( miḥna ) Catalan:
aflicció (ca) , f angoixa (ca) , f angúnia (ca) f Danish:
ubehag (da) n Dutch:
druk (nl) , m stress (nl) f Esperanto:
angoro (eo) Finnish:
tuska , (fi) ahdinko (fi) French:
détresse (fr) f German:
Kummer (de) , m Bedrängnis (de) , f Drangsal (de) , f Bekümmerung f Gothic:
𐌰𐌲𐌲𐍅𐌹𐌸𐌰 f ( aggwiþa ) Greek:
αγωνία (el) f ( agonía ), συντριβή (el) f ( syntriví ), συμφορά (el) f ( symforá ), απελπισία (el) f ( apelpisía )
Ancient: στενοχωρία f ( stenokhōría ), ἀνία f ( anía ), συνοχή f ( sunokhḗ ) Hebrew:
מוּעָקָה (he) f ( mu'aqá ) Hungarian:
bánat , (hu) gyötrelem , (hu) bú , (hu) búbánat (hu) Icelandic:
óþægindi n Irish:
angar , m crá m Italian: angoscia (it) , f pena (it) , f miseria (it) , f sconforto (it) m
Central Kurdish: بێچارەیی ( bêçareyî ), دڵ تەنگی ( dill tengî ) Latin:
aerumna f Maori:
, ahotea , uhitea , āwangawanga , māteatea , auhi , auhitanga pāpōuri Ngazidja Comorian:
desconforto (pt) m Romanian:
suferință (ro) f Russian:
го́ре (ru) n ( góre ), беда́ (ru) f ( bedá ), несча́стье (ru) n ( nesčástʹje ) Sanskrit:
दुःख (sa) n ( duḥkha ), शोक (sa) m ( śoka ), क्लेश (sa) ( kleśa ), आपद् (sa) f ( āpad ) Scottish Gaelic:
airc f Serbo-Croatian:
distres , m muka (sh) Spanish:
aflicción (es) , f angustia (es) , f desasosiego (es) , m ansiedad (es) , f sinvivir Swahili:
dhiki (sw) Swedish:
obehag (sv) , n bekymmer (sv) , n ledsamhet (sv) c Turkish:
sıkıntı , (tr) mihnet , (tr) cendere , (tr) ızdırap (tr) Ukrainian: горе n ( hore ), лихо (uk) n ( lyxo ), страждання n ( straždannja )
беда (bg) f ( beda ), бедствие (bg) n ( bedstvie ) Danish:
nødsituation (da) Finnish:
hätä , (fi) merihätä (fi) French:
détresse (fr) German:
Not (de) , f Notlage (de) , f Seenot (de) f ( specifically of ships ) Greek:
κίνδυνος (el) m ( kíndynos ) Hungarian:
baj , (hu) , szorultság , szorult helyzet , megszorultság , szorongattatás vész , (hu) ínség , (hu) szükség (hu) Icelandic:
vá , f stórhætta f Italian:
pericolo (it) , m difficoltà (it) f Kurdish:
Central Kurdish: شڕ ( şirr )
(medicine) state of maladaptive stress
(law) a seizing of property without legal process to force payment of a debt
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
Translations to be checked
distress ( third-person singular simple present , distresses present participle , distressing simple past and past participle )
strain or anxiety to someone.
Synonyms: , anguish , harrow , trouble , vex , torment , tantalize , tantalise martyr 1827, Stendhal, chapter 31, in Armance :  She respects me, no doubt, but has no longer any passionate feeling for me, and my death will distress her without plunging her in despair.
( law ) To retain someone’s property against the payment of a debt; to distrain.
Synonym: distrain 1894, James Kent; William Hardcastle Browne, Commentaries on American Law, page 645: This power of distress, as anciently used, became as oppressive as the feudal forfeiture. It was as hard for the tenant to be stripped in an instant of all his goods, for arrears of rent, as to be turned out of the possession of his farm. To treat a new object to give it an appearance of age.
Synonyms: , age , antique patinate
a pair of distressed jeans She distressed the new media cabinet so that it fit with the other furniture in the room. 1980, Bill Oddie, Bill Oddie's Little Black Bird Book, page 58: If you don't want to be considered a dude you should distress your binoculars in the way that antique dealers distress new paintings to make them look old.
Translations [ edit ]
to cause strain or anxiety
shqetësoj (sq) Bulgarian:
измъчвам (bg) ( izmǎčvam ), тревожа (bg) ( trevoža ) Dutch:
onder (nl) druk (nl) zetten , (nl) benauwen (nl) Esperanto:
ahdistaa , (fi) tehdä onnettomaksi German:
bedrücken , (de) bekümmern , (de) heimsuchen , (de) peinigen (de) Gothic:
𐌲𐌰𐌰𐌲𐌲𐍅𐌾𐌰𐌽 ( gaaggwjan ) Greek:
στενοχωρώ (el) ( stenochoró ), θλίβω (el) ( thlívo ), αναστατώνω (el) ( anastatóno ) Hungarian: elszomorít , (hu) nyomaszt , (hu) lesújt , (hu) lehangol (hu)
to retain someone’s property
to treat to make look old
Further reading [ edit ]
Anagrams [ edit ]