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[Anglo-French destrece, literally, tightness, anguish, deprivation, from Old French, ultimately from Late Latin districtus severe, from past participle of distringere to hinder, punish see distrain ]
1 : seizure and detention of the goods of another as pledge or to obtain satisfaction of a claim by the sale of the goods seized
: seizure by a landlord of a tenant's property to obtain satisfaction of arrearages in rent NOTE: Distress is regulated by statute where available. It has been held unconstitutional by some courts.
2 : pain or suffering affecting the body, a bodily part, or the mind see also emotional distress
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.