distress

distressingly, adv.
/di stres"/, n.
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.
a. the legal seizure and detention of the goods of another as security or satisfaction for debt, etc.; the act of distraining.
b. the thing seized in distraining.
7. to dent, scratch, or stain (furniture, lumber, or the like) so as to give an appearance of age.
adj.
8. afflicted with or suffering distress: distress livestock; distress wheat.
9. caused by or indicative of distress or hardship: distress prices; distress borrowing.
v.t.
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.
[1250-1300; (n.) ME destresse < AF distresse, destresse, OF < VL *districtia, equiv. to L district(us) (see DISTRICT) + -ia -Y3; (v.) ME destressen < AF destresser (OF destrecier), deriv. of the n.]
Syn. 1. agony, anguish, adversity, tribulation. See sorrow. 2. need, destitution.
Ant. 1. comfort.

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law
      in law, process that enables a person to seize and detain from a wrongdoer some chattel, or item of personal property, as a pledge for the redressing of an injury, the performance of a duty, or the satisfaction of a demand. Distress was frequently levied without legal process, but requirements have become more stringent and now often necessitate some type of court action.

      Seizure of property was common in ancient societies as a means of obtaining satisfaction for crime, breach of contract, nonpayment of debt, or any other offense or injury. It continues in modern times in nearly all legal systems.

      The main causes for which distress is allowed vary from country to country. In general, they include (1) the nonpayment of rent, (2) trespass and damage by cattle or other chattels, (3) nonpayment of taxes and certain fines, and (4) nonpayment for goods and services received.

      Initially the right of distress was a mere passive right to detain goods distrained until payment or recompense was made; this right still exists in many places when there has been damage or trespass by cattle. In other cases the power to sell the goods to pay the sum due has been conferred by statute. Certain types of goods are usually exempt from distress: goods in actual use, perishable goods, and the apparel and bedding of a tenant.

      Because it affords an opportunity for injustice and discriminates in favour of one particular class of creditors, the distress form of self-help, or seizure of property, has not been favoured in some countries, such as the United States. Where the remedy still remains, it generally has been modified to vest enforcement in a public official and to narrow the right in other ways.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • distress — dis·tress n [Anglo French destrece, literally, tightness, anguish, deprivation, from Old French, ultimately from Late Latin districtus severe, from past participle of distringere to hinder, punish see distrain] 1: seizure and detention of the… …   Law dictionary

  • distress — n Distress, suffering, misery, agony, dolor, passion are comparable when denoting the state of one that is in great trouble or in pain of mind or body. Distress commonly implies conditions or circumstances that cause physical or mental stress or… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Distress — Dis*tress , n. [OE. destresse, distresse, OF. destresse, destrece, F. d[ e]tresse, OF. destrecier to distress, (assumed) LL. districtiare, fr. L. districtus, p. p. of distringere. See {Distrain}, and cf. {Stress}.] 1. Extreme pain or suffering;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • distress — dis‧tress [dɪˈstres] noun [uncountable] LAW when someone s goods are taken with the permission of a court of law so that they can be sold to pay unpaid rent, bills etc: • The corporation had a power of absolute and immediate distress in the event …   Financial and business terms

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  • distress — [di stres′] vt. [ME distressen < OFr destrecier, orig., to constrain (to do something) < destrece, constraint < ML destrescia < L districtus, pp. of distringere: see DISTRAIN] 1. to cause sorrow, misery, or suffering to; pain 2. to… …   English World dictionary

  • distress — [n1] pain, agony ache, affliction, anguish, anxiety, bad news*, blues*, care, concern, cross, dejection, desolation, disappointment, discomfort, disquietude, dolor, embarrassment, grief, headache, heartache, heartbreak, irritation, malaise,… …   New thesaurus

  • Distress — Dis*tress , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Distressed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Distressing}.] [Cf. OF. destrecier. See {Distress}, n.] 1. To cause pain or anguish to; to pain; to oppress with calamity; to afflict; to harass; to make miserable. [1913 Webster] We… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • distress — ► NOUN 1) extreme anxiety or suffering. 2) the state of a ship or aircraft when in danger or difficulty. 3) Medicine a state of physical strain, especially difficulty in breathing. ► VERB 1) cause distress to. 2) give (furniture, leather, etc.)… …   English terms dictionary

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