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[dih-stres-fuh l] /dɪˈstrɛs fəl/
causing or involving distress:
the distressful circumstances of poverty and sickness.
full of, feeling, or indicating distress:
a distressful cry.
Origin of distressful
1585-95; distress + -ful
Related forms
distressfully, adverb
distressfulness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for distressful
Historical Examples
  • So the distressful country preserves her old grievance, that she does not even get her time until after England has been served.

    The Royal Observatory Greenwich E. Walter (Edwared Walter) Maunder
  • It was a long night to me, and perhaps the most distressful one I ever spent.

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • Hardly had he uttered these distressful exclamations when a prolonged note of melody caught his ear.

  • At least we are glad to have been in China during these distressful days, just to see how they do it.

    Peking Dust Ellen N. La Motte
  • I was so sorry when I heard that it had caused that bloody and distressful war over there in Italy.

    Roughing It Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • The voice of her weeping was like the distressful cry of the slaughtered lamb.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • Mrs. Gallito, all timorousness again, beat her hands lightly together, in a distressful flurry.

    The Black Pearl Mrs. Wilson Woodrow
  • Afraid to miss his train, he did not undress on that distressful night.

    The Big Bow Mystery I. Zangwill
  • The distressful business is for the bad plays that I and other managers sometimes produce.

    Charles Frohman: Manager and Man Isaac Frederick Marcosson and Daniel Frohman
  • Well, because it is unpleasant to mebecause it is distressful to me.

    Rejected of Men Howard Pyle
Word Origin and History for distressful

1590s, from distress + -ful. Related: Distressfully; distressfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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