distress

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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 ?
While addressing a gathering after inaugurating the fourth India International Science Festival here, President Kovind said he wishes to take the opportunity to point out the issue of "distressingly low participation of women in higher science."
Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Jim Broadbent, Ciaran Hinds, Julia Stiles, Anne-Marie Duff and Riz Ahmed look distressingly like seven talents in need of new agents.
To my ears there were only two duds: Bob Chilcott's glutinous arrangement of Tallis' Canon (though the Birmingham University Singers distinguished themselves alongside The Sixteen); and the Choral Dances from Britten's ill-fated Coronation opera Gloriana, mincing in its writing in a way we have come to find distressingly frequent in this centenary year's tributes, which are possibly doing more harm than good.
Perhaps most distressingly, he declared, matter-of-factly: "I might have another drink, but I don't know if I've got another recovery."
When the NSA recruits uber-geek Ian to use his gaming skills to fly drones in war zones, moral ambiguities become even more distressingly blurred.
Despite distressingly poor sales to date, Windows Phone 8 is set to consolidate its place as the 'third platform' behind Google and Apple in the next five years, analysts Ovum and Gartner have predicted.
Emily is wearing 1861 clothing, her hair is pinned up under a bonnet, and, most distressingly, everyone in the novel behaves as if she has always been there.
Stacey Winston, from the UN, said the 2011 fund "remains distressingly underfunded with a 73 per cent shortfall and if more funding is not received relief supplies will run out within weeks." According to official figures, more than 1.58 million homes in Sindh and 26,000 in neighbouring Baluchistan province have been damaged in the flood disaster.
Stacey Winston, from the UN, said the 2011 fund remains distressingly underfunded with a 73 per cent shortfall and if more funding is not received relief supplies will run out within weeks.
Of the 1.1 million HIV-infected people in the United States, a distressingly low number of them complete all four steps.
There are also some disease concerns and the sudden arrival of the grassy sawfly in the extreme southwest, but for the most part, there are no signs in mid-June of anything distressingly out of the ordinary.
There's even a distressingly average rendition of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean by Sound Bluntz.
The fine points of translation will be fascinating for Egyptian and Near Eastern scholars, although the politics will be distressingly familiar.
Neil Patel's set was engaging in the first scene and not bad in the third, but it became progressively simpler to the point where, in the last act, it was distressingly bare.
They're distressingly short on welcoming the stranger and distressingly long on the car-manual approach to marital relations.
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