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
  1. noun
    a state of adversity (danger or affliction or need)
    “a ship in distress
    “she was the classic maiden in distress
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    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
  2. noun
    psychological suffering
    “the death of his wife caused him great distress
    synonyms: 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
  3. noun
    extreme physical pain
    “the patient appeared to be in distress
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    type of:
    hurting, pain
    a symptom of some physical hurt or disorder
  4. noun
    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”
    synonyms: distraint
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    type of:
    the taking possession of something by legal process
  5. verb
    bring into difficulties or distress, especially financial hardship
    synonyms: straiten
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    type of:
    bother, discommode, disoblige, incommode, inconvenience, put out, trouble
    to cause inconvenience or discomfort to
  6. verb
    cause mental pain to
    “The news of her child's illness distressed the mother”
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    cause to feel distressed or worried
    type of:
    disturb, trouble, upset
    move deeply
Word Family

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