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distress

[dih-stres] /dɪˈstrɛs/
noun
1.
great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble.
2.
a state of extreme necessity or misfortune.
3.
the state of a ship or airplane requiring immediate assistance, as when on fire in transit.
4.
that which causes pain, suffering, trouble, danger, etc.
5.
liability or exposure to pain, suffering, trouble, etc.; danger:
a damsel in distress.
6.
Law.
  1. the legal seizure and detention of the goods of another as security or satisfaction for debt, etc.; the act of distraining.
  2. the thing seized in distraining.
7.
to dent, scratch, or stain (furniture, lumber, or the like) so as to give an appearance of age.
adjective
8.
afflicted with or suffering distress:
distress livestock; distress wheat.
9.
caused by or indicative of distress or hardship:
distress prices; distress borrowing.
verb (used with object)
10.
to afflict with great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; trouble; worry; bother.
11.
to subject to pressure, stress, or strain; embarrass or exhaust by strain:
to be distressed by excessive work.
12.
to compel by pain or force of circumstances:
His suffering distressed him into committing suicide.
Origin of distress
1250-1300
1250-1300; (noun) Middle English destresse < Anglo-French distresse, destresse, Old French < Vulgar Latin *districtia, equivalent to Latin district(us) (see district) + -ia -y3; (v.) Middle English destressen < Anglo-French destresser (Old French destrecier), derivative of the noun
Related forms
distressingly, adverb
predistress, noun, verb (used with object)
Synonyms
1. agony, anguish, adversity, tribulation. See sorrow. 2. need, destitution.
Antonyms
1. comfort.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for distressingly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Elizabethans, from Spenser onward, found Chaucer distressingly archaic.

    Adventures in Criticism Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • Consuelo was determined, indignant, distressingly reproachful!

  • Clerk Janaway was inclined to take a distressingly opportunist and matter-of-fact view of the question.

    The Nebuly Coat John Meade Falkner
  • So far the results have been distressingly uniform and hopelessly negative.

    Preventable Diseases Woods Hutchinson
  • The yield of oil was distressingly scanty, the whale being what is technically known as a "dry skin."

    The Cruise of the Cachalot Frank T. Bullen
  • Excellent people, no doubt, but distressingly shortsighted in some matters.

    Ulysses James Joyce
British Dictionary definitions for distressingly

distress

/dɪˈstrɛs/
verb (transitive)
1.
to cause mental pain to; upset badly
2.
(usually passive) to subject to financial or other trouble
3.
to damage (esp furniture), as by scratching or denting it, in order to make it appear older than it is
4.
(law) a less common word for distrain
5.
(archaic) to compel
noun
6.
mental pain; anguish
7.
the act of distressing or the state of being distressed
8.
physical or financial trouble
9.
in distress, (of a ship, aircraft, etc) in dire need of help
10.
(law)
  1. the seizure and holding of property as security for payment of or in satisfaction of a debt, claim, etc; distraint
  2. the property thus seized
  3. (US) (as modifier): distress merchandise
Derived Forms
distressful, adjective
distressfully, adverb
distressfulness, noun
distressing, adjective, noun
distressingly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old French destresse distress, via Vulgar Latin, from Latin districtus divided in mind; see distrain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for distressingly

distress

n.

late 13c., "circumstance that causes anxiety or hardship," from Old French destresse, from Vulgar Latin *districtia "restraint, affliction, narrowness, distress," from Latin districtus, past participle of distringere "draw apart, hinder," also, in Medieval Latin "compel, coerce," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + stringere "draw tight, press together" (see strain (v.)). Meaning "anguish, suffering; grief" is from c.1300.

v.

late 14c., from Old French destresser, from Vulgar Latin *districtiare (see distress (n.)). Related: Distressed; distressing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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distressingly in Medicine

distress dis·tress (dĭ-strěs')
n.

  1. Mental or physical suffering or anguish.

  2. Severe strain resulting from exhaustion or trauma.


dis·tress' adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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