stress

noun
\ˈstres \

Definition of stress 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : constraining force or influence: such as

a : a force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another body or body part especially : the intensity of this mutual force commonly expressed in pounds per square inch

b : the deformation caused in a body by such a force

c : a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation

d : a state resulting from a stress especially : one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium job-related stress

e : strain, pressure the environment is under stress to the point of collapse— Joseph Shoben

2 : emphasis, weight lay stress on a point

3 archaic : intense effort or exertion

4 : intensity of utterance given to a speech sound, syllable, or word producing relative loudness

5a : relative force or prominence of sound in verse

b : a syllable having relative force or prominence

stress

verb
stressed; stressing; stresses

Definition of stress (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to subject to physical or psychological stress stressing the equipment this traffic is stressing me out

2 : to subject to phonetic stress : accent

3 : to lay stress on : emphasize stressed the importance of teamwork

intransitive verb

: to feel stress stressing about the big exam often used with out

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of stress in a Sentence

Noun

She uses meditation as a way of reducing stress. Hormones are released into the body in response to emotional stress. She is dealing with the stresses of working full-time and going to school. He talked about the stresses and strains of owning a business. Carrying a heavy backpack around all day puts a lot of stress on your shoulders and back. To reduce the amount of stress on your back, bend your knees when you lift something heavy. The ship's mast snapped under the stress of high winds. measuring the effects of stresses on the material

Verb

The union stressed the need for stricter safety standards. The risks involved in the procedure should be stressed. Some people stress the second syllable of “harassment,” while others stress the first. When she said, “We need lots of money,” she stressed the word “lots.” It's not an important decision and it isn't worth stressing over.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Echocardiograms revealed that his heart has adapted to the stress of training with very little malformation, such as thickened ventricular walls, that often affects other elite athletes’ performances. Nick Heil, Outside Online, "Are Kilian Jornet's Speed Records Too Good to Be True?," 12 July 2018 But the stress and pressure of trying to breastfeed, at a certain point, might not be great for your mental health, so stopping altogether might be necessary, and that's OK. Korin Miller, SELF, "Khloé Kardashian Says She Had to Stop Breastfeeding After Two Months," 11 July 2018 Airlines say service dogs for psychological or physical disabilities would still qualify but that such animals would be trained to handle the stress of flying. Alison Sider, WSJ, "Airlines Urge Clampdown on Flying With Pets," 10 July 2018 Iturra, the psychologist, said in a telephone interview that although no one can prepare for the surprise of being stranded, methods can be used to reduce the stress of waiting for rescue. Chris Kraul And Jorge Poblete, Anchorage Daily News, "Once trapped themselves, Chilean miners have some advice for Thai boys stuck in cave," 7 July 2018 Nor was the team destabilized by the social stresses of the late '60s and '70s. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Johnny Bench Is Already a Hall-of-Famer, But He's Looking For a New Distinction," 5 July 2018 The ultimate goal of a real estate transaction, of course, is a timely sale, but being aware of the motivations and characteristics of different types of buyers can reduce (but probably not eliminate) the stress of selling your home. Kenya Burrell-vanwormer, Houston Chronicle, "Realtor View: Buyer’s personality can affect sale," 1 July 2018 If any roots are to be cut, it should be done in the fall, after the stress of the hot, dry weather has passed. Neil Sperry, San Antonio Express-News, "What’s the story with morning glories not blooming?," 29 June 2018 Her male superiors repeatedly ignored her requests, until the stress of the job led her into a state of psychological and physical breakdown. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Former Pixar employee details how the company’s rampant sexism went far beyond John Lasseter," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the Bears guaranteed O’Donnell only $500,000 on a one-year deal and have stressed the need for competition. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "Will Pat O'Donnell respond to competition in fight to stick with Bears?," 13 July 2018 And Ginsberg stressed Match Group does not sell user data, since 95 percent of company revenue comes from subscriptions. CBS News, ""The world has really changed" when it comes to online dating," 13 July 2018 Turnquist stressed safety when using fireworks, and recommended that used fireworks be placed in pails or bins of water before throwing them away. Marc Daalder, Detroit Free Press, "Fireworks left in trash set West Bloomfield house ablaze," 5 July 2018 Manager Liam Norris said safety is stressed and all players must wear goggles to protect their eyes. Frank Vaisvilas, Daily Southtown, "Like 'Call of Duty' but a lot more fun: Weekend warriors play paintball scenarios in Crete," 2 July 2018 Transforming ocean water into what comes out of faucets is some of the most expensive technology of its kind in the world, but water mangers continued to stress the need for independence from the Met. Joshua Emerson Smith, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego's efforts to divest from rival L.A. water agency have driven up rates for residents. Is it worth it?," 1 July 2018 Temperature rise will have a disproportionate impact on poorer and minority residents, given that the warmest neighborhoods also are the most economically stressed and majority black or Hispanic. Frank Kummer, Philly.com, "Weather warning: These Philadelphia neighborhoods get the hottest in a heat wave," 29 June 2018 Everyone will be stressed out and there will be a lot of standing around. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "Why Jeff Greer sees Croatia facing Brazil in the World Cup 2018 final," 29 June 2018 And Yale President Peter Salovey stressed that any notions that universities reap the benefits of public funding while failing to reinvest it in society are a misconception. Alia Wong, The Atlantic, "Should America’s Universities Stop Taking So Many International Students?," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stress.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of stress

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1545, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for stress

Noun

Middle English stresse stress, distress, short for destresse — more at distress

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stress

Statistics for stress

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stress

The first known use of stress was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stress

stress

noun

English Language Learners Definition of stress

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.

: something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety

: physical force or pressure

stress

verb

English Language Learners Definition of stress (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give special attention to (something)

: to pronounce (a syllable or word) in a louder or more forceful way than other syllables or words

: to feel very worried or anxious about something : to feel stress

stress

noun
\ˈstres \

Kids Definition of stress

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a force that tends to change the shape of an object

2 : something that causes physical or emotional tension : a state of tension resulting from a stress She felt the stress of working two jobs.

3 : special importance given to something The speaker laid stress on a particular point.

4 : relative loudness or force of a part of a spoken word or a beat in music “Finally” has the stress on the first syllable.

stress

verb
stressed; stressing

Kids Definition of stress (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to subject to excessive use or to forces that cause a change in shape Hard use was stressing the equipment.

2 : to cause or experience physical or emotional tension All these changes are stressing me.

3 : to pronounce (part of a word) with relative loudness or force Stress the first syllable.

4 : to give special importance to : emphasize He stressed the need to save energy.

stress

noun
\ˈstres \

Medical Definition of stress 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another body or body part especially : the intensity of this mutual force commonly expressed in pounds per square inch

b : the deformation caused in a body by such a force

2a : a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation

b : a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium

3 : the force exerted between teeth of the upper and lower jaws during mastication

Medical Definition of stress (Entry 2 of 2)

: to subject to stress a patient stressed by surgery

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on stress

What made you want to look up stress? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!