Difference Wiki

Distress vs. Duress: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 11, 2023
"Distress" is suffering or pain, mental or physical; "Duress" is coercion or force against someone's will.

Key Differences

"Distress" refers to a state of pain, suffering, or discomfort, either physical or emotional. This term can encompass a broad range of experiences, from financial hardship to emotional anguish. "Duress", on the other hand, specifically denotes compulsion or force exerted upon someone to make them act against their will.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023
In the realm of psychology and health, "Distress" signifies negative stress or strains that an individual finds overwhelming or too challenging. Conversely, "Duress" in the legal domain means unlawful pressure or threats used to compel someone into a contract or committing a crime.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023
It's essential to understand that while both words deal with uncomfortable situations, their causes differ. "Distress" often arises from internal factors or external challenges like personal tragedies or health issues. In contrast, "Duress" is a direct result of external pressure, often from another person or entity.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023
From a linguistic standpoint, "Distress" can be both a noun and a verb. For instance, one might be 'in distress' or 'distress someone' with bad news. "Duress", however, remains primarily a noun in usage, describing the state or act of coercion.
Janet White
Oct 06, 2023

Comparison Chart

Primary Definition

Pain, suffering, or discomfort.
Coercion or force against someone's will.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023
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Field of Use

Psychology, health, general.
Legal.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Cause

Internal or external challenges.
External force or pressure from others.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Grammatical Usage

Can be both noun and verb.
Primarily used as a noun.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 06, 2023

Associated Emotion

Anxiety, sorrow, pain.
Fear due to coercion.
Janet White
Oct 06, 2023

Distress and Duress Definitions

Distress

Extreme anxiety, pain, or sorrow.
The news of the accident caused her great distress.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 06, 2023
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Duress

Compulsion or force exerted to make someone act.
He signed the contract under duress.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 06, 2023

Distress

A situation necessitating immediate assistance.
The ship sent out a distress signal.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 06, 2023

Duress

Coercion influencing someone's behavior.
His actions, though regrettable, were committed under duress.
Janet White
Oct 06, 2023

Distress

A state of adversity or difficulty.
Economic distress affected the entire nation.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Duress

Unlawful pressure leading to actions against one's will.
The confession was obtained through duress.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Distress

Physical or mental strain.
Prolonged work hours led to his distress.
Harlon Moss
Oct 06, 2023

Duress

Threats or violence forcing compliance.
She acted under duress and feared for her family.
Harlon Moss
Oct 06, 2023

Distress

To cause strain, anxiety, or suffering to.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

Compulsion by threat or violence; coercion
Confessed under duress.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

To mar or otherwise treat (an object or fabric, for example) to give the appearance of an antique or of heavy prior use.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

Constraint or difficulty caused by misfortune
"children who needed only temporary care because their parents were ill, out of work, or under some other form of duress" (Stephan O'Connor).
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

(Archaic) To constrain or overcome by harassment.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

A fraud achieved through the use of a threat or compulsion
She had a cause of action for duress. His claim was based on duress.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

Anxiety or mental suffering.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

A criminal defense for an act undertaken under threat of serious bodily harm
His defense was duress.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

Bodily dysfunction or discomfort caused by disease or injury
Respiratory distress.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

Forcible confinement.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

Physical deterioration, as of a highway, caused by hard use over time
Pavement distress.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

(obsolete) Harsh treatment.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

The condition of being in need of immediate assistance
A motorist in distress.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

Constraint by threat.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

Suffering caused by poverty
Programs to relieve public distress.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

(legal) Restraint in which a person is influenced, whether by lawful or unlawful forceful compulsion of their liberty by monition or implementation of physical enforcement; legally for the incurring of civil liability, of a citizen's arrest, or of subrogation, or illegally for the committing of an offense, of forcing a contract, or of using threats.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

(Law) The act of distraining or seizing goods to compel payment or other satisfaction for a debt or other duty owed; distraint.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

To put under duress; to pressure.
Someone was duressing her.
The small nation was duressed into giving up territory.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

Physical or emotional discomfort, suffering, or alarm, particularly of a more acute nature.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

Hardship; constraint; pressure; imprisonment; restraint of liberty.
The agreements . . . made with the landlords during the time of slavery, are only the effect of duress and force.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

A cause of such discomfort.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

The state of compulsion or necessity in which a person is influenced, whether by the unlawful restrain of his liberty or by actual or threatened physical violence, to incur a civil liability or to commit an offense.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

Serious danger.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

To subject to duress.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

(medicine) An aversive state of stress to which a person cannot fully adapt.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

Compulsory force or threat;
Confessed under duress
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

(legal) A seizing of property without legal process to force payment of a debt.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Duress

A method to achieve agreement by intimidation.
The hostages were held under duress.
Sara Rehman
Oct 06, 2023

Distress

(legal) The thing taken by distraining; that which is seized to procure satisfaction.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

To cause strain or anxiety to someone.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

(legal) To retain someone’s property against the payment of a debt; to distrain.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

To treat a new object to give it an appearance of age.
A pair of distressed jeans
She distressed the new media cabinet so that it fit with the other furniture in the room.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

Extreme pain or suffering; anguish of body or mind; as, to suffer distress from the gout, or from the loss of friends.
Not fearing death nor shrinking for distress.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

That which occasions suffering; painful situation; misfortune; affliction; misery.
Affliction's sons are brothers in distress.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

A state of danger or necessity; as, a ship in distress, from leaking, loss of spars, want of provisions or water, etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

The act of distraining; the taking of a personal chattel out of the possession of a wrongdoer, by way of pledge for redress of an injury, or for the performance of a duty, as for nonpayment of rent or taxes, or for injury done by cattle, etc.
If he were not paid, he would straight go and take a distress of goods and cattle.
The distress thus taken must be proportioned to the thing distrained for.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

To cause pain or anguish to; to pain; to oppress with calamity; to afflict; to harass; to make miserable.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

To compel by pain or suffering.
Men who can neither be distressed nor won into a sacrifice of duty.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

To seize for debt; to distrain.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

Psychological suffering;
The death of his wife caused him great distress
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

A state of adversity (danger or affliction or need);
A ship in distress
She was the classic maiden in distress
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

Extreme physical pain;
The patient appeared to be in distress
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

The seizure and holding of property as security for payment of a debt or satisfaction of a claim;
Originally distress was a landloard's remedy against a tenant for unpaid rents or property damage but now the landlord is given a landlord's lien
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

Cause mental pain to;
The news of her child's illness distressed the mother
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2022

Distress

To cause anxiety or pain.
He was distressed by the loss of his job.
Harlon Moss
Oct 06, 2023

FAQs

Can "Distress" also be a verb?

Yes, "Distress" can be used as a verb, meaning to cause anxiety or pain.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Is "Duress" used outside legal contexts?

While primarily legal, "Duress" can be used in general contexts to denote strong coercion.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Can financial challenges be considered "Distress"?

Yes, financial hardships can lead to economic distress.
Janet White
Oct 06, 2023

Does "Distress" only refer to emotional pain?

No, "Distress" can refer to both emotional and physical pain.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

If someone is pressured but agrees willingly, is it "Duress"?

If the pressure is coercive and against one's initial will, it's "Duress".
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Does "Duress" always involve threats of violence?

No, "Duress" can involve any form of pressure or coercion, not just violent threats.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Can one party claim a contract is void due to "Duress"?

Yes, if a contract was signed under "Duress", it can be considered void in many legal systems.
Sara Rehman
Oct 06, 2023

Does "Duress" only relate to physical threats?

No, "Duress" can involve any form of coercion, including threats or intimidation.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Does "Duress" require physical presence?

No, "Duress" can be exerted through various means, including remotely through threats.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Is "Duress" always illegal?

Often in legal contexts, duress is unlawful, especially when it forces actions against one's will.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

What might be a synonym for "Distress"?

A synonym could be "anguish" or "suffering".
Sara Rehman
Oct 06, 2023

How might someone exhibit signs of "Distress"?

Signs can range from physical symptoms, anxiety, to overt expressions of pain or sorrow.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Can "Distress" lead to health issues?

Chronic distress can lead to various health concerns, including mental health disorders.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

What might be an opposite of "Distress"?

"Eustress", a positive form of stress, could be considered opposite in some contexts.
Harlon Moss
Oct 06, 2023

Can psychological tactics create a state of "Duress"?

Yes, psychological manipulation or threats can lead to "Duress".
Harlon Moss
Oct 06, 2023

Are there legal consequences for exerting "Duress"?

Yes, using "Duress" unlawfully can lead to legal penalties.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Can "Duress" be subtle?

Yes, "Duress" can be overt or subtle, as long as it influences someone against their will.
Janet White
Oct 06, 2023

Can "Distress" arise from positive events?

Yes, events like marriage or a new job, while positive, can lead to "Distress" due to sudden change.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

How does "Distress" differ from regular stress?

While stress can be positive or negative, "Distress" is negative stress that's often overwhelming.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 06, 2023

Does "Distress" always need intervention?

Not always, but severe or prolonged distress often benefits from professional intervention.
Sara Rehman
Oct 06, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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