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dis·tress (dĭ-strĕs)
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tr.v. dis·tressed, dis·tress·ing, dis·tress·es
1. To cause strain, anxiety, or suffering to. See Synonyms at trouble.
2. To mar or otherwise treat (an object or fabric, for example) to give the appearance of an antique or of heavy prior use.
3. Archaic To constrain or overcome by harassment.
n.
1. Anxiety or mental suffering.
2.
a. Bodily dysfunction or discomfort caused by disease or injury: respiratory distress.
b. Physical deterioration, as of a highway, caused by hard use over time: pavement distress.
3.
a. The condition of being in need of immediate assistance: a motorist in distress.
b. Suffering caused by poverty: programs to relieve public distress.
4. Law The act of distraining or seizing goods to compel payment or other satisfaction for a debt or other duty owed; distraint.

[Middle English distressen, from Old French destresser, from destresse, constraint, from Vulgar Latin *districtia, from Latin districtus, past participle of distringere, to hinder; see DISTRAIN.]

dis·tressing·ly adv.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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