If you are in distress, you are in trouble. You're hurting — either physically or mentally.

See the word stress hanging out at the end of distress? There's a good reason for that. The noun distress refers to a state of severe anxiety or strain, often brought about by failing to study for an exam, harassing grizzly bears, or borrowing your sister's clothes without asking. When used as a verb, to distress means to cause all that pain, suffering and anxiety — in other words, to stress somebody out.

Definitions of distress

n a state of adversity (danger or affliction or need)

“a ship in distress
“she was the classic maiden in distress
extreme distress of body or mind
an oppressive condition of physical or mental or social or economic distress
hard or painful trouble or struggle
Type of:
adversity, hard knocks, hardship
a state of misfortune or affliction

n psychological suffering

“the death of his wife caused him great distress
hurt, suffering
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anguish, torment, torture
extreme mental distress
self-torment, self-torture
self-imposed distress
(Yiddish) trouble and suffering
a figurative injury (to your feelings or pride)
Type of:
pain, painfulness
emotional distress; a fundamental feeling that people try to avoid

n extreme physical pain

“the patient appeared to be in distress
Type of:
hurting, pain
a symptom of some physical hurt or disorder

n the seizure and holding of property as security for payment of a debt or satisfaction of a claim

“Originally distress was a landlord's remedy against a tenant for unpaid rents or property damage but now the landlord is given a landlord's lien”
Type of:
the taking possession of something by legal process

v bring into difficulties or distress, especially financial hardship

Type of:
bother, discommode, disoblige, incommode, inconvenience, put out, trouble
to cause inconvenience or discomfort to

v cause mental pain to

“The news of her child's illness distressed the mother”
cause to feel distressed or worried
Type of:
disturb, trouble, upset
move deeply

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