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over·​stress ˌō-vər-ˈstres How to pronounce overstress (audio)
overstressed; overstressing

transitive verb

: to stress (someone or something) excessively: such as
: to subject (someone or something) to excessive physical or psychological stress
overstressed himself with too many commitments
… workers often overstress their muscles and tissues to the point where they become inflamed …Predicasts Technology Update
… the alternate action of the wind on either side of the church overstressed the intermediate external pillar, which failed.Mario Salvadori
: to place too much emphasis on (something) : overemphasize
overstress the possibility of an unlikely problem
The importance of this point can't be overstressed. = I can't overstress the importance of this point.
overstressed adjective
feeling tired and overstressed


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over·​stress ˈō-vər-ˌstres How to pronounce overstress (audio)
: an excessive amount of physical or psychological stress
overstress on a building's supports
He learned a short left leg had resulted in overstress on the right foot.Hillary Gavan
While a certain level of stress can increase productivity, overstress causes us—at a deep, biological level—to start making choices that are unwise, unsafe, and even unethical.Brian Whetten

Examples of overstress in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Residents who are crowded and overstressed, in too close living conditions with no respite, are more prone to violence. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, 3 June 2024 Powell’s threading a tricky needle—the housing market is a big driver of the domestic economy, and overstressing it by keeping interest rates high for too long could threaten the rest of the economy. Dylan Sloan, Fortune, 8 Mar. 2024 What was the easiest way to break a sweat without overstressing your already-beleaguered mind and body? Ashley Mateo, SELF, 31 Oct. 2023 Comparisons with the past might only depress you, or worse, mislead you into overstressing. Roger Robinson, Outside Online, 14 Jan. 2021 Don't overstress yourself Work in teams of two or more people to move heavy objects. George Petras, USA TODAY, 31 Aug. 2023 This racist phenomenon has been coined patanking by Indian-American actress Sakina Jaffrey—the blending of thousands of dialects into one accent by overstressing certain syllables or exchanging vs and ws. Isha Sharma, Harper's BAZAAR, 31 May 2023 While minor discrepancies may be NBD, significant gaps can lead to injury since the stronger side can overstress itself by taking on too much work for the weak side. Jenny McCoy, SELF, 12 Nov. 2022 Unsurprisingly, two-thirds of working parents (pdf) report feeling exhausted and overstressed. Anna Oakes, Quartz, 11 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overstress.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1872, in the meaning defined above


1850, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of overstress was in 1850

Dictionary Entries Near overstress

Cite this Entry

“Overstress.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overstress. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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