Definitions for: Distrain


[v] legally take something in place of a debt payment
[v] confiscate by distress
[v] levy a distress on



Webster (1913) Definition: Dis*train", v. t. [imp. & p. p. Distrained; p. pr.
& vb. n. Distraining.] [OE. destreinen to force, OF.
destreindre to press, oppress, force, fr. L. distringere,
districtum, to draw asunder, hinder, molest, LL., to punish
severely; di- = stringere to draw tight, press together. See
Strain, and cf. Distress, District, Distraint.]
1. To press heavily upon; to bear down upon with violence;
hence, to constrain or compel; to bind; to distress,
torment, or afflict. [Obs.] ``Distrained with chains.''
--Chaucer.

2. To rend; to tear. [Obs.]

Neither guile nor force might it [a net] distrain.
--Spenser.

3. (Law)
(a) To seize, as a pledge or indemnification; to take
possession of as security for nonpayment of rent, the
reparation of an injury done, etc.; to take by
distress; as, to distrain goods for rent, or of an
amercement.
(b) To subject to distress; to coerce; as, to distrain a
person by his goods and chattels.


Dis*train", v. i.
To levy a distress.

Upon whom I can distrain for debt. --Camden.

See Also: attach, confiscate, impose, impound, levy, reclaim, repossess, seize, sequester

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