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distress

dis·tress / disˈtres/ • n. 1. extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain: to his distress he saw that she was trembling. ∎  the state of a ship or aircraft when in danger or difficulty and needing help: vessels in distress on or near the coast. ∎  suffering caused by lack of money or the basic necessities of life: the poor were helped in their distress. ∎  Med. a state of physical strain, exhaustion, or, in particular, breathing difficulty: they said the baby was in distress. 2. Law another term for distraint. • v. [tr.] cause (someone) anxiety, sorrow, or pain: I didn't mean to distress you | [tr.] he was distressed to find that Anna would not talk to him | [as adj.] (distressing) some very distressing news. ∎  give (furniture, leather, or clothing) simulated marks of age and wear: the manner in which leather jackets are industrially distressed. DERIVATIVES: dis·tress·ful / -fəl/ adj. dis·tress·ing·ly adv.

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Distress

DISTRESS

The seizure ofpersonal propertyfor the satisfaction of a demand.

The process of distress, sometimes called distrain, began at common law wherein a land-lord had the right to confiscate the chattels of a tenant who had defaulted on a rent payment. Today, it is regulated by statute, and is used to mean the taking of property to enforce the performance of some obligation.

A warrant of distress is a writ that authorizes an officer to seize a person's goods. It is usually used in situations where a landlord has the right to obtain a lien on a tenant's goods for nonpayment of rent.

If personal property is seized to enforce the payment of taxes and then publicly sold if the taxes are not subsequently paid, the sale is called a distress sale. Distressed goods are chattels sold at a distress sale.

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distress

distress (dial.) strain, stress; strain of adversity; (leg.) act of distraining. XIII. — OF. destre(s)ce, -esse (mod. détresse) :- Gallo-Rom. *districtia, f. pp. stem of L. distringere DISTRAIN.
So as vb. XIV. — AN. destresser, OF. -ecier, f. the sb. Aphetic STRESS.

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