Definition of distrain in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəˈstrān/


[with object] Law
1Seize (someone’s property) to obtain payment of rent or other money owed: legislation has restricted the right to distrain goods found on the premises
More example sentences
  • 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.
1.1Seize the property of (someone) to obtain payment of money owed: the government applied political pressure by distraining debtors
More example sentences
  • 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.



Pronunciation: /dəˈstrānər/
Example sentences
  • The distrainer [ie., BI] has not provided any money to the petitioner, or for that matter any guarantee in respect of the above-mentioned expenses.
  • The Inland Revenue, as a distrainer, will become a preferential creditor in the sum of the sale proceeds.
  • The new appointments raised the number of court distrainers to 119.


Example sentences
  • There are some horrors in Rose's memories and the distrainment of a poor household's meagre possessions is hardly cheerful.
  • In the event of distrainment, confiscation or other disposition by third parties, the Purchaser is to notify us hereof immediately.
  • The distrainment of the goods of a tenant (in lieu of rent) or the eviction of tenants for non-payment of rent were not altogether uncommon in certain periods.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: dis·train

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