• WordNet 3.6
    • adj distressing bad; unfortunate "my finances were in a deplorable state","a lamentable decision","her clothes were in sad shape","a sorry state of affairs"
    • adj distressing causing distress or worry or anxiety "distressing (or disturbing) news","lived in heroic if something distressful isolation","a disturbing amount of crime","a revelation that was most perturbing","a new and troubling thought","in a particularly worrisome predicament","a worrying situation","a worrying time"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

The Signal of Distress that was Never Seen The Signal of Distress that was Never Seen
Distressed Mother Distressed Mother
A man, made poor by agricultural distress, selling something to a happy money lender in order to pay his rent A man, made poor by agricultural distress, selling something to a happy money lender in order to pay his rent

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The first British ship to use the SOS distress signal was the Titanic
    • a distressing dĭs*trĕs"ĭng Causing distress; painful; unpleasant.
    • adv Distressing In a distressing manner.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: David Sarnoff received the Titanic's distress signal and saved hundreds of passengers. He later became the head of the first radio network, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).
    • distressing Very painful or afflicting: as, a distressing sickness. Synonyms Acute, grievous, trying, afflictive, torturing, miserable.
    • ***


  • Bhagavad Gita
    Bhagavad Gita
    “The non permanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of summer and winter seasons.”
  • Horace Mann
    “To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is Godlike.”
  • Clare Boothe Luce
    “No woman has ever so comforted the distressed or distressed the comfortable. [On Eleanor Roosevelt]”
  • Seneca
    “Even if it is to be, what end do you serve by running to distress?”
  • Barbara Tuchman
    Barbara Tuchman
    “No more distressing moment can ever face a British government than that which requires it to come to a hard, fast and specific decision.”
  • W. Somerset Maugham
    “The world is quickly bored by the recital of misfortune, and willing avoids the sight of distress.”


In literature:

It cuts me to the heart to see how I have distressed you.
"Heart and Science" by Wilkie Collins
His mind began to wander strangely; he was not angry or frightened or distressed.
"The Fallen Leaves" by Wilkie Collins
Why distress him with your tears and remonstrances?
"A Terrible Temptation" by Charles Reade
Their unpopularity increased daily, and it was stimulated by the general distress.
"Endymion" by Benjamin Disraeli
He unmistakably avoided distressing, lofty subjects or reminiscences of the past.
"The Possessed" by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Were you in distress, she would love you, cherish you, never abandon you.
"The Cathedral" by Sir Hugh Walpole
But Pierre, distressed and quivering, again began to plead his cause.
"Paris From the "Three Cities"" by Emile Zola
Ferrand, meantime, was still looking at the man, sorely distressed at his inability to please Sister Hyacinthe by reviving him.
"The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete Lourdes, Rome and Paris" by Emile Zola
Why are you in such distress?
"The Dream" by Emile Zola
Presently it broke upon us again, wild, shrill, and agonised: the scream of a woman in mortal distress.
"Micah Clarke" by Arthur Conan Doyle

In poetry:

When sorrow bows the spirit down,
Or virtue lies distressed
Beneath some proud oppressor's frown,
Thou giv'st the mourners rest.
"Psalm 145 part 3" by Isaac Watts
Yet still he seemed resolved to stay
As if it were his rest;
Although their sins from day to day
His righteous soul distressed.
"Lot In Sodom" by John Newton
That love's dull smart distressed my heart
He shrewdly learnt to see,
But that I was in love with a dead man
Never suspected he.
"Her Secret" by Thomas Hardy
'The king is filled with irks, distressed,
And bids thee hasten to his side;
For thou alone canst give him rest.'
The poet cried:
"The Poet's Song" by Archibald Lampman
And still, to heighten our distress,
Thy presence is withdrawn;
Thy wonted signs of power and grace,
Thy power and grace are gone.
"Psalm LXXIV: Will God For Ever Cast Us Off?" by Isaac Watts
That shakes the world, and most hath dropt
Into grief and distress,
O blessed then is he that's wrapt
In Christ his righteousness.
"Of Death" by John Bunyan

In news:

My experience with a bank-owned property illustrated just a fraction of the possible complications involved in buying a distressed property.
Intelligence / This Week in Distressing Tech News.
A girl in petticoats and great distress runs across a fog-encrusted heath while lush orchestral music on the soundtrack speaks to the tumult in her soul.
She sure looks distressed doing her walk in this picture.
As I read the Saturday Soapbox article "'Fair share' just unfair rhetoric" by Glen Early, I grew concerned that his overwrought feelings of righteous indignation may be causing him distress.
A doctoral student at the University of North Carolina saw a pregnant woman in distress at a bus stop.
"Emily" helps pull distressed swimmer from rip current off Oregon.
State Department Of Education Labels Two Districts ' Fiscally Distressed'.
A distress call said the boat was taking on water.
Two Iranian boats continue their voyage after USS Dewey provided the distressed mariners with food, water and medical supplies.
Stocks are being hammered as Europe's debt crisis remains unresolved and the US economy is showing new signs of distress.
Distressing is the first reaction to the third audit measuring how well US dioceses have implemented provisions of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
From The Sacramento Bee Lenders Foreclose on Ritz-Carlton at Northstar-at-Tahoe The foreclosure at the Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel is the latest sign of economic distress in the Sierra resort industry.
Much of the overlap and fragmentation among these 53 programs is concentrated among programs that support economically distressed and disadvantaged areas and programs that assist disadvantaged and small businesses.
Anybody who has looked at the distressing pictures tends to agree.

In science:

If you’re not concerned about the fact that your bridges in theory will eventually fall down because of thermal crack nucleation, perhaps the associated non-convergence of Hooke’s law shouldn’t distress you.
Formal Considerations about Fracture: Nucleation and Growth
Currency and banking crises: The early warnings of distress.
How to grow a bubble: A model of myopic adapting agents
Van der Kruit (private communication) suggests that the Westerbork group have indeed failed to detect it, which may cause some relief to those distressed by the above discussion.
The radio background: radio-loud galaxies at high and low redshifts
Quite independently of the quantitative relevance of such instant propagation effect in this particular example – which is none in practice –, its very existence is conceptual ly distressing.
The detection of Gravitational Waves
Appropriate measures were taken to minimize pain and distress of animals used in this study. A total of 349 male Sprague-Dawley rats (CENPALAB, Havana, Cuba) weighing 270-320 g at the time of surgery were used in the present study.
Post-ischaemic treatment with the cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor nimesulide reduces blood-brain barrier disruption and leukocyte infiltration following transient focal cerebral ischaemia in rats