1) To seize the chattels of a person in order to settle a debt or an unpaid fine.
c.1540 att the entry to his land Battersbye ... dyd distrean in Slaghtwait as in his wiff’s right, Woodsome
1592 ‘If the rent is in arrears it shalbe lawfull for Roger Greene ... into anye or every parte ... to enter and distreyne’, Meltham
1642 Wheare men are not able to pay theire rates, the Collectors have full power to distreine, Elmswell. Occasionally abbreviated 1577 2 coverlets streyned ... wrought contrary to the statute, Beverley.