Definition of distress in English:

distress

noun

  • 1Extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain.

    ‘to his distress he saw that she was trembling’
    • ‘Benzodiazepines can relieve the distress associated with agoraphobia but have only a temporary effect.’
    • ‘She was experiencing significant distress due to hot flashes and was referred by her oncologist for hypnotherapy.’
    • ‘Mediated pathways were especially salient for understanding variation in adolescents' self-reported distress.’
    • ‘They can be enforced whenever youths are harassing or causing distress to residents or businesses.’
    • ‘They began and ended therapy with profiles that represented a couple in serious relationship distress.’
    • ‘Others, however, suffer great emotional distress associated with a lack of self-confidence and sometimes depression.’
    • ‘They say that the school didn't protect her and that she's suffering emotional distress.’
    • ‘Complex social institutions have developed in response to pressures to alleviate the distress which behavior patterns can produce.’
    • ‘Fourthly, patients' distress and their vulnerability to anxiety and depression are lessened.’
    • ‘Caring for people experiencing mental distress is often complex and challenging.’
    • ‘Several qualified female staff expressed intense feelings of distress associated with restraining patients.’
    • ‘Many may have developed explicit systems which seek to alleviate human distress by eliminative procedures.’
    • ‘The treatment of choice for co-occurring marital distress and depression appears to be behavioral marital therapy.’
    • ‘People who suffer emotional distress can turn to food to suppress their feelings, only exacerbating the problem.’
    • ‘Considerable social stigma is associated with infection, which may cause psychological distress in the sufferer.’
    • ‘Next, subjects were classified according to relationship distress as measured by the RAT.’
    • ‘Only then will we avoid causing distress to our elderly by nursing home closures.’
    • ‘Analgesics for chronic pain should be administered at whatever dose is required to relieve distress.’
    • ‘The causative role of that trauma in patients' subsequent distress becomes clear.’
    • ‘Family members and friends can lessen the patient's distress by avoiding disagreements in front of the patient.’
    anguish, suffering, pain, agony, ache, affliction, torment, torture, discomfort, heartache, heartbreak
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The state of a ship or aircraft when in danger or difficulty and needing help.
      ‘vessels in distress on or near the coast’
      • ‘"We're picking up a distress beacon, " he explained.’
      • ‘Three Kingfisher pilots searching for ships in distress radioed they had spotted life rafts in the stormy Atlantic.’
      • ‘Aaron continued telling anyone who was listening how the freighter ship Charybdis was in distress.’
      • ‘The Federal Government was acting in contravention of maritime law by shunning a ship and crew in distress.’
      • ‘Wasn't the closest port in Indonesia when the ship received a distress call?’
      • ‘The radio operator sent a Mayday distress call, which was logged by the local Coastguard station at 12.06 am.’
      • ‘The flight crew made a distress call and the aircraft landed safely on one engine around 14 minutes after take-off.’
      • ‘The played disk quickly created an ambient background sound of a ship in distress.’
      • ‘And next time there is a ship in distress in Norwegian waters, let's hope there is an Australian vessel nearby.’
      • ‘It would continue to befriend foreign sailors in distress but would destroy any foreign ships that threatened its rulers or were violent.’
      • ‘The Navy has made a valiant, but ultimately doomed, attempt to rescue a fellow seafarer in distress at Fleet Base West.’
      • ‘In doing so, you have helped a pilot in distress and are a credit to [Air Force] Air Traffic Control.’
      • ‘Spanish ships in distress were to be permitted to seek refuge in English ports.’
      • ‘Tasks undertaken have included searches, medical evacuations, and providing aid to ships and boats in distress.’
      • ‘Our ships and aircraft received no distress calls.’
      • ‘Unwaveringly these incredibly brave volunteers get in the chopper and answer the distress call.’
      • ‘At the seaside, the coastguard reported a number of false alarms when ships mistook fireworks for distress flares.’
      • ‘With trousers flapping vigorously on the coastline Maritime rescuers might have taken him for a small sailing vessel in distress.’
      • ‘Just as the Missouri left Earth orbit a top order distress signal came through.’
      • ‘USS Gettysburg recently rescued four civilian mariners in distress at sea.’
      danger, peril, difficulty, trouble, jeopardy, risk, hazard, endangerment, imperilment
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    2. 1.2 Suffering caused by lack of money or the basic necessities of life.
      ‘the poor were helped in their distress’
      • ‘The firm I worked for went through financial distress before lay-offs.’
      • ‘Boston's Dance Umbrella, New England's major modern dance presenter, closed at the end of April, citing severe financial distress.’
      • ‘Farmers are subject to major disruption and families can suffer serious distress and financial loss.’
      • ‘We collected some money so that when we found instances of real distress over matters other than food we had a fund that we were able to divide up.’
      • ‘But it is also required that the shopping be at a level where it impairs your job, or creates serious family problems, or leads to financial distress.’
      • ‘As a councillor, I witness at first hand the needless hardship and distress caused to, mainly young, families waiting years to be housed.’
      • ‘On that bus, dignity masks the distress of financial hardship and failing hope.’
      • ‘A National Grid spokesman said today that the company did not wish to cause any distress or financial hardship to Mrs Craven.’
      • ‘This financial distress is creating serious health problems too.’
      • ‘A charity for the homeless is marking ten years of relieving poverty and distress in the Chorley area.’
      • ‘Many of the suicides in the countryside were triggered by the financial distress caused by the low rubber prices.’
      • ‘It also noted that another operational consequence of BWIA's financial distress was the long delay in regaining Category 1 status.’
      • ‘By one estimate, medical expenses are the primary cause of financial distress for 40 percent of those struggling to hold on to their homes.’
      • ‘He told planners he could get into financial distress if expansion proposals for the business weren't agreed soon.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the money is rolling in for the relief of distress among the victims of this appalling apocalyptic tragedy.’
      • ‘Many have been separated from their families and loved ones for months on end, enduring great personal distress and financial loss.’
      • ‘Some look embarrassed; their presence here all but announces financial distress at home.’
      • ‘The framers of the New Deal never considered day care as a strategy for alleviating economic distress, however.’
      • ‘So, in advance of the Budget, the RAC Foundation called on the Chancellor to freeze fuel tax to avoid further financial distress.’
      • ‘Both these parasitical forms of life are causing distress and hardship to average, hard-working Bermudians.’
      hardship, adversity, tribulation, misfortune, bad luck, ill luck, trouble, calamity
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    3. 1.3Medicine A state of physical strain, exhaustion, or, in particular, breathing difficulty.
      ‘they said the baby was in distress’
      • ‘As in other causes of acute respiratory distress syndrome, the mortality is high.’
      • ‘Researchers first assumed startles were needed to arouse an infant beginning to experience respiratory distress.’
      • ‘She was hospitalized with respiratory distress due to mediastinal masses compressing the airway.’
      • ‘No significant differences between the various groups were found when the incidence of acute fetal distress was analyzed.’
      • ‘Additional and more serious symptoms include eye infections, acute respiratory distress, and pneumonia.’
  • 2Law

    another term for distraint
    • ‘Payments were not made under the LO and bailiffs were instructed to levy distress but were unsuccessful.’
    • ‘On 22nd July 2003 the father employed bailiffs to levy distress on Ash Waste in respect of £2,857 allegedly owed as rent.’
    • ‘W. Toronto changed locks and posted bailiff notice of distress.’
    • ‘Nothing the bailiff did, in attempting lawfully to levy distress, could have begun to justify a resort to violence by another person present.’
    • ‘Speed had said that ‘when a statute says money ‘shall be levied by distress,’ that is an execution.’’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Cause (someone) anxiety, sorrow, or pain.

    ‘I didn't mean to distress you’
    [with object and infinitive] ‘he was distressed to find that Anna would not talk to him’
    • ‘Yeah, it distresses me how easy it is to fail the people who need us.’
    • ‘Lt. Col. Patterson said he was distressed at the news.’
    • ‘On Saturday, Hat Hair and I sit in the park and drink beer until his quiet introspection distresses me and I leave.’
    • ‘To merely contemplate moving human remains will distress some people.’
    • ‘I was distressed by this news; if not at Yale, then where?’
    • ‘He reported that he was distressed by the news that one of his friends had relayed today.’
    • ‘As a resident of Alastrean House in Aberdeenshire, I am distressed by the recent news that the house is threatened with closure.’
    • ‘It might distress people considerably, but no moral judgment can be applied because you have a totally wild encounter.’
    • ‘Only two weeks after writing this post, I am still distressed by the news from London.’
    • ‘Many people are distressed at what has happened.’
    • ‘He had done every possible act to bother and distress her, including his attempt of a confession of love to her.’
    • ‘He was very distressed and upset when he got home.’
    • ‘That is not why the story of SIEV-X distresses me.’
    • ‘But if it distresses you, I'll have Sean reconfigure the link.’
    • ‘Though these behaviors might distress people, they serve turkey vultures well.’
    • ‘Mental health counsellors have set up crisis phone lines for people distressed by the shootings.’
    • ‘Michelle was deeply distressed by Adam's news and she felt tears forming quickly in her eyes.’
    • ‘The entire situation distresses the people profoundly these days.’
    • ‘In Mexico, people are distressed by the possibility that biopharmaceutical corn could be introduced in the country.’
    • ‘Elizabeth felt that he was distressed because she was right and he had upset her.’
    upsetting, worrying, affecting, painful, traumatic, agonizing, harrowing, tormenting
    sad, saddening, pitiful, heartbreaking, heart-rending, tragic, haunting
    disturbing, concerning, unsettling, disquieting
    shocking, alarming
    gut-wrenching
    distressful
    cause anguish to, cause suffering to, pain, upset, make miserable, make wretched
    View synonyms
  • 2Give (furniture, leather, or clothing) simulated marks of age and wear.

    ‘the manner in which leather jackets are industrially distressed’
    • ‘So, I hereby grant you permission to paint that table, to distress it, to weather it, to paint it pink and stencil flowers around the edge if that pleases you.’
    • ‘I use anything that is available to create a texture, make a mark, reflect light, distress the surface, etc.’
    • ‘The surface of the table has become distressed by time. There would be no space beneath such a thing to languish.’
    age, season, condition, mellow, weather, simulate age in
    View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Old French destresce (noun), destrecier (verb), based on Latin distringere stretch apart.

Pronunciation

distress

/dəˈstres/