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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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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., 2007).
On the basis of these definitions, it appears that moral integrity is always compromised in morally distressing situations.
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.e., intrusive memory), and groups were compared on distress.
The rank for each behavior or experience for all subjects (women and men) is displayed in the first column of the table, arranged in ascending order from most to least distressing. The particular experiences are listed in the second column.
An interesting pattern to note is that sexually harassing conduct of persons with more power in the relationship was ranked as more distressing than was the same conduct by persons with less power.
It is not true that men fail to perceive sexual harassment as emotionally distressing. Except for a few behaviors, the most oppressive manifestations of sexual harassment are seen as distressing to men as they are to women.
Indeed, persons with PD view their symptoms as so distressing and embarrassing that they often withdraw from social contact (Backer, 2000; Brod, Mendelson, & Roberts, 1998; Frazier, 2000; Marr, 1991).
The research questions for this study were the following: (a) What are the most distressing symptoms among persons with PD?
In regard to research question 1, the most distressing symptom, on average, was "off time" (when movement is greatly impaired or absent), followed (in order) by freezing gait, postural instability, sleep disturbance, and difficulty concentrating, all four of which had similar mean distress scores.