Meaning of distrain in English:


Pronunciation /dɪˈstreɪn/


[with object]
  • 1Law
    Seize (someone's property) in order to obtain payment of rent or other money owed.

    ‘legislation has restricted the right to distrain goods found upon the premises’
    • ‘Having distrained upon the plaintiff's goods, the inventory prepared fell short of being meticulous.’
    • ‘Only if the equitable lease prevailed would the landlord's action in distraining be proper.’
    • ‘Counsel then argues that the defendant did not convert because since he did not distrain, he was not the seller of the property.’
    • ‘As guarantee of this, the burgess was expected to own a house which could be distrained in the event of default of payment.’
    • ‘The lessor should be paid in full, or be allowed to distrain.’
    1. 1.1Seize the property of (someone) in order to obtain payment of money owed.
      ‘the Crown applied political pressure by distraining debtors’
      • ‘The manuscript adds that an attempt by the Duchess to prevent Lord and Lady Harley from distraining tenants who did not pay their rent has been thrown out of court.’
      seize, take, take possession of, take away, requisition, appropriate, expropriate, sequestrate, sequester, confiscate, annex, take over, claim, lay claim to, pre-empt, secure


Middle English from Old French destreindre, from Latin distringere ‘stretch apart’, from dis- ‘apart’ + stringere ‘tighten’.