ADJ. acute, considerable, deep, extreme, great, immense, severe | genuine, real | obvious | unnecessary | emotional, mental, personal, physical, psychological the physical distress of thirst and hunger the personal distress associated with unemployment | economic, financial, social The causes of social distress include inadequate housing.
VERB + DISTRESS cause (sb) | feel, suffer the distress that she felt when her parents argued The animals suffer great pain and distress when hunted. | show (signs of) She seemed calm and showed no signs of distress. | conceal He tried to conceal his distress, but the tremor in his voice was unmistakable. | avoid | alleviate, ease, relieve
DISTRESS + NOUN call, signal The sinking ship sent out a distress call.
PREP. in ~ The child was clearly in distress. a ship in distress | to sb's ~ He dropped out of college, to his family's distress. | ~ at her obvious distress at hearing such bad news | ~ over The president issued a statement expressing her distress over the affair.
PHRASES a damsel in distress medieval ballads about a knight saving a damsel in distress | a source of distress Grief over ageing is a source of distress to men and women.