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v. dis·trained, dis·train·ing, dis·trains Law
1. To seize and hold (property) to compel payment or reparation, as of debts.
2. To seize the property of (a person) in order to compel payment of debts; distress.
To levy a distress.

[Middle English distreinen, from Old French destreindre, destreign-, from Medieval Latin distringere, distrinct-, from Latin, to hinder : dis-, apart; see dis- + stringere, to draw tight; see streig- in Indo-European roots.]

dis·train′a·ble adj.
dis·train′ment n.
dis·trai′nor, dis·train′er n.


(Law) law to seize (personal property) by way of distress
[C13: from Old French destreindre, from Latin distringere to impede, from dis-1 + stringere to draw tight]
disˈtrainable adj
disˈtrainment n
disˈtrainor, disˈtrainer n


1. to seize and hold goods, etc., of (another) in order to obtain satisfaction of a claim for damages, unpaid rent, etc.
2. to levy a distress.
[1250–1300; Middle English distreinen < Anglo-French, Old French destreindre < Latin distringere to stretch out =di- di-2 + stringere to draw tight; see strain1]
dis•trai′nor, dis•train′er, n.


Past participle: distrained
Gerund: distraining

I distrain
you distrain
he/she/it distrains
we distrain
you distrain
they distrain
I distrained
you distrained
he/she/it distrained
we distrained
you distrained
they distrained
Present Continuous
I am distraining
you are distraining
he/she/it is distraining
we are distraining
you are distraining
they are distraining
Present Perfect
I have distrained
you have distrained
he/she/it has distrained
we have distrained
you have distrained
they have distrained
Past Continuous
I was distraining
you were distraining
he/she/it was distraining
we were distraining
you were distraining
they were distraining
Past Perfect
I had distrained
you had distrained
he/she/it had distrained
we had distrained
you had distrained
they had distrained
I will distrain
you will distrain
he/she/it will distrain
we will distrain
you will distrain
they will distrain
Future Perfect
I will have distrained
you will have distrained
he/she/it will have distrained
we will have distrained
you will have distrained
they will have distrained
Future Continuous
I will be distraining
you will be distraining
he/she/it will be distraining
we will be distraining
you will be distraining
they will be distraining
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been distraining
you have been distraining
he/she/it has been distraining
we have been distraining
you have been distraining
they have been distraining
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been distraining
you will have been distraining
he/she/it will have been distraining
we will have been distraining
you will have been distraining
they will have been distraining
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been distraining
you had been distraining
he/she/it had been distraining
we had been distraining
you had been distraining
they had been distraining
I would distrain
you would distrain
he/she/it would distrain
we would distrain
you would distrain
they would distrain
Past Conditional
I would have distrained
you would have distrained
he/she/it would have distrained
we would have distrained
you would have distrained
they would have distrained
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Verb1.distrain - levy a distress on
levy, impose - impose and collect; "levy a fine"
2.distrain - confiscate by distress
confiscate, impound, sequester, seize, attach - take temporary possession of as a security, by legal authority; "The FBI seized the drugs"; "The customs agents impounded the illegal shipment"; "The police confiscated the stolen artwork"
3.distrain - legally take something in place of a debt payment
reclaim, repossess - claim back


[dɪsˈtreɪn] VI (Jur) to distrain uponsecuestrar, embargar


vi (Jur) to distrain upon somebody’s goodsjds Eigentum beschlagnahmen
References in classic literature ?
Hodson, his hind from Mudbury, into the carriage with him, and they talked about distraining, and selling up, and draining and subsoiling, and a great deal about tenants and farming--much more than I could understand.
"These include sending reminders, final notices, and the obtaining of liability orders from the Magistrate's Court, which then entitles the authority to instigate further action such as bankruptcy/ liquidation proceedings or the ability to levy distress - the distraining and selling of taxpayers' goods, the proceeds then being used to offset against the debt."
Since it will not be able to settle its claims by distraining the group's accounts, the ministry will seize vessels on which it has lien.
The proceeds of sale of distrained property are distributed by order of the Execution Judge to the distraining creditors and those other persons considered party to the procedures.
John Morrison's reading of Fife painter Sir David Wilkie's Distraining for Kent (1817), which depicts a despairing farmer and his family on the verge of being evicted from their home, suggests the image represented a general fear that the loyalties fostered in small communities were already dissipating, to be replaced by a distant, depersonalised system.
The hotelier claims KRA issued a notice of distress through its agents, distraining the hotel's goods and chattels.
The judge will examine whether the claimed debt exists and is due (with the burden of proof laying on the creditor) and if the answer is in the affirmative he might issue one of the following decisions: (i) order performance without distraining the debtor if the debt is due but the debtor has enough assets to cover it, (ii) temporary distrain the debtor if further in debt examination is needed on his/her solvency, (iii) proclaim the insolvency and issue a Distraint Order.
dispute over a custom concerning distraining a foreign merchant's
ports--posed the risk of distraining foreign state property and created too much international friction.