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distrain vb[Anglo-French destreindre, literally, to constrict, force, from Old French, from Late Latin distringere to hinder, punish, from Latin, to pull in different directions, distract, from dis- apart + stringere to draw tight]
1 : to force or compel to satisfy an obligation by means of a distress
2 : to seize by distress compare enter
: to levy a distress
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.