American English

Definition of distress noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1a feeling of great worry or unhappiness; great suffering The newspaper article caused the actor considerable distress. She was obviously in distress after the attack. deep emotional distress
  2. 2suffering and problems caused by not having enough money, food, etc. synonym hardship economic/financial distress The charity aims to relieve poverty and distress caused by natural disasters.
  3. 3a situation in which a ship, plane, etc. is in danger or difficulty and needs help a distress signal (= a message asking for help) It is a rule of the sea to help another boat in distress.
  4. Idioms
    a damsel in distress (humorous)
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    a woman who needs help
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: distress

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