stress

noun
\ ˈstres How to pronounce stress (audio) \

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

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Synonyms for stress

Synonyms: Noun

pressure, strain, tension

Synonyms: Verb

bother, fear, fret, fuss, stew, sweat, trouble, worry

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Those structures can bend, sway, and shake in response to any number of factors: wind gusts, distant seismic tremors, thermal stresses, local traffic, and so forth. Jennifer Ouellette, Wired, "The Rock That Vibrates in Time With Earth, Wind, and Waves," 2 Sep. 2019 Many rural communities are shrinking in population, rural planners say, creating stress on their long-term viability. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Here's how Pete Buttigieg plans to appeal to rural and religious voters," 26 Aug. 2019 Even with a house call, your dog may still need to be medicated to reduce her stress. Cathy M. Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "Pet World: A vet who does house calls may help reduce pet’s fear," 23 Aug. 2019 Grosholz said acidification combined with the other chemical changes related to climate change that occur in the brackish water of bays and estuaries will lead to greater stress on oysters. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Oysters in peril as warming climate alters the water in their habitats," 8 Aug. 2019 The floods in the Midwest have delayed the planting of crops, which will raise food prices and place further stress on working class budgets. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Your Say: Election 2020 priorities," 2 Aug. 2019 After seeing her peers struggle with anxiety and depression while learning in a high-achieving academic environment, Ambassador Girl Scout Manasvi Vora decided to help others deal with their stress through informational workshops and a website. Pomerado News, "Girl Scout aims to help stressed teens with mental health issues," 26 July 2019 In the shallows, where the sun’s rays are intense, the proteins act as a type of sunblock for a coral reef, reducing light stress. Smithsonian, "Amazing Photos Reveal the Hidden Light of Undersea Life," 25 July 2019 The problem, Pollyea said, was that wastewater pumped from the Mississippi Lime was denser than the water in the seismically active deep rock formation where it was injected and lead to increased stress on the region’s faults. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "Earthquakes near oil fields could persist long after drilling stops," 17 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

McIntyre, a longtime local lawyer who led the county bar association, has stressed that he is committed to San Diego and wouldn’t use the council seat as a stepping stone to higher office in Sacramento. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Republicans rallying to save one of two remaining San Diego council seats," 2 Sep. 2019 In the one-on-one meetings that are a prominent feature of the G-7 schedule, Trump has stressed areas of agreement, often overstating the alignment between him and his counterparts while mostly ignoring evidence of diverging views. Los Angeles Times, "Trump says he’s willing to negotiate with Iran, doesn’t want leadership change," 26 Aug. 2019 Children and parents grow stressed, and some become suicidal. oregonlive.com, "The ICE chief called family detention ‘summer camp. Here’s what it looks like inside," 25 Aug. 2019 Theories of aesthetic valuing are stressed through the use of portfolio review. Ramona Sentinel, "Mentors needed to assist Career Technical Education students," 22 Aug. 2019 Nearly three-quarters of Democrats said they were stressed about the nation’s future, a view shared by clear majorities of Republicans and Democrats as well. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Trump’s Tax on the National Psyche," 21 Aug. 2019 Patricia said the best part about the turnovers the Lions created Saturday is that they were caused by some of the techniques coaches have stressed in practice. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Inside the Detroit Lions: Having 'bad intentions' a good thing on defense," 18 Aug. 2019 And if that doesn't seem like enough time to make a decision on such a big purchase, no need to stress. Noelle Ike, CNN Underscored, "Don't snooze on this deal from Casper: Save $100 on a mattress, receive two free pillows," 16 Aug. 2019 Adebayo has stressed such range as an ongoing goal. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Heat’s Bam Adebayo released from U.S. national team," 11 Aug. 2019

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.

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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

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Learn More about stress

Statistics for stress

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stress

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

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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
US, informal : to feel very worried or anxious about something : to feel stress

stress

noun
\ ˈstres How to pronounce stress (audio) \

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 How to pronounce stress (audio) \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on stress

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stress

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stress

Spanish Central: Translation of stress

Nglish: Translation of stress for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stress for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about stress

Comments on stress

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