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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

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 31 Jan. 2023.

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