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abuse of distress

The wrongful or unlawful use or sale of property that has been seized in order to force payment or the performance of some contractual obligation (known in law as the process of distress or distrain). It was a clear case of abuse of distress: the landlord, without a court order, changed the locks on the door and then seized and sold the tenants' belongings only an hour after serving them a notice of eviction.
See also: abuse, distress, of

damsel in distress

A helpless woman who needs to be rescued from some danger. The term is a reference to the stereotypical female character in romantic stories who serves solely to be rescued by a heroic male character. It's not like I'm a damsel in distress, Dad—I'll be fine living on my own.
See also: damsel, distress

damsel in distress

a young woman in trouble. humorous
Damsel in distress makes humorous reference to the ladies in chivalric romances whose sole purpose was to be rescued from peril by a knight in shining armour (see knight).
See also: damsel, distress

a ˌdamsel in diˈstress

(humorous) a woman who needs help from a man, often to solve a practical problem: When I got a flat tyre I had to wait for my boyfriend to come and help me, like a true damsel in distress!
Damsel is an old word for a young woman who is not married.
See also: damsel, distress
References in periodicals archive ?
Advocacy was identified as an important nursing role that is complicated by perceptions of powerlessness and conflicting loyalties in morally distressing situations (Calvin et al.
On the basis of these definitions, it appears that moral integrity is always compromised in morally distressing situations.
Three hundred and thirty eight participants were recruited for the study; however only participants who endorsed a distressing SIT (n = 209) were included in the data analysis.
Participants were then instructed to write out their most distressing SIT and indicate whether or not that thought was related to an event that they willingly or unwillingly (Yes or No) experienced.
Participants' most distressing sexual thoughts were categorized into themes created and defined by a research team familiar with studying sexual intrusive thoughts and obsessions.
Next, individuals were grouped based on whether their most distressing SIT was or was not related to a real-life sexual experience (i.