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

Definition of overstress

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to stress (someone or something) excessively: such as
a : 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
b : 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.


over·​stress | \ ˈō-vər-ˌstres How to pronounce overstress (audio) \

Definition of overstress (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

Other Words from overstress


overstressed \ ˌō-​vər-​ˈstrest How to pronounce overstress (audio) \ adjective
feeling tired and overstressed

First Known Use of overstress


1872, in the meaning defined above


1850, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of overstress was in 1850

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Cite this Entry

“Overstress.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overstress. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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