Something that's distressing makes you feel sad, upset, or worried. A distressing phone call from your dad might involve him telling you your grandma is in the hospital.

When something causes distress, "anxiety, sorrow, or pain," you can describe it as distressing. Both words come from the Vulgar Latin districtia, "restraint, affliction, or narrowness," from distringere, "draw apart or hinder" in Latin. Distressing headlines in the newspaper convey terrible news, and distressing text messages from your friend might make you worry for her safety.

Definitions of distressing
  1. adjective
    bad; unfortunate
    synonyms: deplorable, lamentable, pitiful, sad, sorry
    having undesirable or negative qualities
  2. adjective
    causing distress or worry or anxiety
    distressing (or disturbing) news”
    synonyms: distressful, disturbing, perturbing, troubling, worrisome, worrying
    marked by great psychological weight; weighted down especially with sadness or troubles or weariness
Word Family