1. Extreme pain or suffering; anguish of body or mind; as, to suffer distress from the gout, or from the loss of friends. "Not fearing death nor shrinking for distress." (Shak)

2. That which occasions suffering; painful situation; misfortune; affliction; misery. "Affliction's sons are brothers in distress." (Burns)

3. A state of danger or necessity; as, a ship in distress, from leaking, loss of spars, want of provisions or water, etc.

4. The act of distraining; the taking of a personal chattel out of the possession of a wrongdoer, by way of pledge for redress of an injury, or for the performance of a duty, as for nonpayment of rent or taxes, or for injury done by cattle, etc. The thing taken by distraining; that which is seized to procure satisfaction. "If he were not paid, he would straight go and take a distress of goods and cattle." (Spenser) "The distress thus taken must be proportioned to the thing distrained for." (Blackstone) Abuse of distress.

See Abuse.

Synonyms: Affliction, suffering, pain, agony, misery, torment, anguish, grief, sorrow, calamity, misfortune, trouble, adversity. See Affliction.

Origin: OE. Destresse, distresse, OF. Destresse, destrece, F. Detresse, OF. Destrecier to distress, (assumed) LL. Districtiare, fr. L. Districtus, p. P. Of distringere. See Distrain, and cf. Stress.

(01 Mar 1998)