Meaning of “distress” in the English Dictionary

"distress" in British English

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distressnoun [ U ]

uk /dɪˈstres/ us /dɪˈstres/

C1 a feeling of extreme worry, sadness, or pain:

She claimed that the way she had been treated at work had caused her extreme emotional and psychological distress.
Many of the horses were showing signs of distress at the end of the race.

C2 a situation in which you are suffering or are in great danger and therefore in urgent need of help:

Six people were rescued by helicopter from a fishing boat in distress off the coast.
a distress signal

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distressverb [ T ]

uk /dɪˈstres/ us /dɪˈstres/

(Definition of “distress” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"distress" in American English

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distressnoun [ U ]

us /dɪˈstres/

great mental or physical suffering, such as extreme anxiety, sadness, or pain, or the state of being in danger or urgent need:

Four men were rescued from a fishing boat in distress off the coast.
verb [ T ] us /dɪˈstres/

Rice appeared distressed about the argument and could not talk about it.
adjective us /dɪˈstres·ɪŋ/

[ + that clause ] It is distressing that so little progress has been made after all this time.

(Definition of “distress” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"distress" in Business English

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uk /dɪˈstres/ us

[ C or U ] LAW the legal action of taking and selling another person’s property in order to get money for a payment or debt that they owe:

make a distress A distress should be made for the whole rent in arrears; but if goods cannot be found at the time, the injured party may make a second distress.

[ U ] ECONOMICS, FINANCE financial failure, for example, not having enough money to pay back a debt or the costs of operating a business:

Rising dependence on credit cards could be a sign of distress as some consumers borrow just to meet routine expenses.

(Definition of “distress” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)