From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [1]

A. Nouns.

Tsârâh ( צָרָה , Strong'S #6869), “distress; straits.” The 70 appearances of tsârâh occur in all periods of biblical literature, although most occurrences are in poetry (poetical, prophetical, and wisdom literature).

Tsârâh means “straits” or “distress” in a psychological or spiritual sense, which is its meaning in Gen. 42:21 (the first occurrence): “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear.…”

Tsâr ( צָר , Strong'S #6862), “distress.” This word also occurs mostly in poetry. In Prov. 24:10, tsâr means “scarcity” or the “distress” caused by scarcity. The emphasis of the noun is sometimes on the feeling of “dismay” arising from a distressful situation (Job 7:11). In this usage the word tsâr represents a psychological or spiritual status. In Isa. 5:30, the word describes conditions that cause distress: “… If one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow …” (cf. Isa. 30:20). This nuance appears to be the most frequent use represented by tsâr.

B. Verb.

Tsârar ( צָרַר , Strong'S #6887), “to wrap, tie up, be narrow, be distressed, be in pangs of birth.” This verb, which appears in the Old Testament 54 times, has cognates in Aramaic, Syriac, Akkadian, and Arabic. In Judg. 11:7, the word carries the meaning of “to be in distress.”

C. Adjective.

Tsâr ( צָר , Strong'S #6862), “narrow.” Tsâr describes a space as “narrow” and easily blocked by a single person (Num. 22:26).

King James Dictionary [2]

DISTRESS, n. See Stress.

1. The act of distraining the taking of any personal chattel from a wrong-doer, to answer a demand, or procure satisfaction for a wrong committed. 2. The thing taken by distraining that which is seized to procure satisfaction.

A distress of household goods shall be impounded under cover. If the lessor does not find sufficient distress on the premises, &c.

3. Extreme pain anguish of body or mind as, to suffer great distress from the gout, or from the loss of near friends. 4. Affliction calamity misery.

On earth distress of nations.  Luke 21 .

5. A state of danger as a ship in distress, from leaking, loss of spars, or want of provisions or water, &c.


1. To pain to afflict with pain or anguish applied to the body or the mind. Literally, to press or strain. 2. To afflict greatly to harass to oppress with calamity to make miserable.

Distress not the Moabites.  Deuteronomy 2 .

We are troubled on every side, but not distressed.  2 Corinthians 4 .

3. To compel by pain or suffering.

There are men who can neither be distressed nor won into a sacrifice of duty.

Webster's Dictionary [3]

(1): ( n.) A state of danger or necessity; as, a ship in distress, from leaking, loss of spars, want of provisions or water, etc.

(2): ( n.) To cause pain or anguish to; to pain; to oppress with calamity; to afflict; to harass; to make miserable.

(3): ( n.) The thing taken by distraining; that which is seized to procure satisfaction.

(4): ( n.) The act of distraining; the taking of a personal chattel out of the possession of a wrongdoer, by way of pledge for redress of an injury, or for the performance of a duty, as for nonpayment of rent or taxes, or for injury done by cattle, etc.

(5): ( n.) To compel by pain or suffering.

(6): ( n.) To seize for debt; to distrain.

(7): ( n.) Extreme pain or suffering; anguish of body or mind; as, to suffer distress from the gout, or from the loss of friends.

(8): ( n.) That which occasions suffering; painful situation; misfortune; affliction; misery.