Definition of distraint in US English:



  • The seizure of someone's property in order to obtain payment of money owed, especially rent.

    ‘many faced heavy fines and the distraint of goods’
    • ‘First, that the goods were not Mr Newman's and so not open to distraint.’
    • ‘After the premises were abandoned, distraint was impossible.’
    • ‘For all the foregoing reasons, therefore, I conclude that the distraint upon the plaintiff's goods was contrary to law.’
    • ‘Because there was no valid distraint, Canada Trustco's security was not displaced.’
    • ‘And the same process of distraint, warning, and forfeiture is to be repeated until he comes.’
    seizure, impounding, commandeering, requisition, requisitioning, appropriation, expropriation, sequestration, taking away, annexation
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Mid 18th century: from distrain, on the pattern of constraint.