Meaning of distress call

distress' call"

Pronunciation: [key]
  1. a prearranged communication code sign indicating that the sender is in a situation of peril, distress, or the like, as SOS, Mayday, etc. Cf. distress signal (def. 1).
  2. a communication prompted by or indicating distress: The hospital sent out distress calls for all available stocks of the antitoxin.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.