- causing distress; painful; grievous
- feeling, expressing, or full of distress
The definition of distressful is something that causes pain, unhappiness, anxiety or fear.
News of a serious illness is an example of something that would bedistressful.
Causing or experiencing distress.
- The distressful island of Ireland was at this moment enjoying the anarchy which had reigned therein since the dawn of history.
- He was rewarded by five or six months of dangerous and distressful wanderings, and would certainly have been taken at one juncture but for the courageous and wise assistance of Flora Macdonald, while on all hands the highlanders displayed the most devoted loyalty.
- On the morrow the latter wrote to his brother at Lichfield, proposing to make arrangements for his withdrawal from the partnership, which, after much distressful complaint on the part of his family, met by him with the utmost consideration, were ultimately carried into effect.
- "In the seventh place, try, by the frequent thought of death," the Rhetor said, "to bring yourself to regard it not as a dreaded foe, but as a friend that frees the soul grown weary in the labors of virtue from this distressful life, and leads it to its place of recompense and peace."