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

At the August 26 meeting, the Board of Education asked the administration to consider ways to lessen stress around finals without shifting the calendar. Alexandra Kukulka, chicagotribune.com, "Glenbrook School District 225 board approves academic calendar that includes final exams after winter break," 17 Sep. 2019 In Hawaii, some coral reefs are starting to bleach, turning pale as the corals expel their colorful symbiotic algae in response to heat stress. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, "Is ‘The Blob’ back? New marine heat wave threatens Pacific," 17 Sep. 2019 The mechanism is likely one of inflammation and stress in the body caused by the virus. NBC News, "This year's flu season may be a bad one. Here's why you need a flu shot.," 17 Sep. 2019 In addition to decreasing stress, improving your sleep cycle, and purifying the air, adding some leafy greens to your decor will make your house (or rental apartment) feel more like a home. Kelsey Mulvey, Good Housekeeping, "Amazon Is Having a Huge Sale on Best-Selling Plants — But It's Ending Soon," 12 Sep. 2019 Imagine losing crazy weight because of dialysis, medication side effects and stress. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "A Complete Timeline of Sarah Hyland and Wells Adams' Relationship," 11 Sep. 2019 Anything from stress to weight fluctuations to hormonal changes can trigger this. Rachel Grumman Bender, SELF, "Can You Go to the Gyno on Your Period or What?," 10 Sep. 2019 Covington will host its second post-traumatic stress seminar on Friday, according to a press release from the City of Covington. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "'This has become an epidemic': Covington hosts seminar on PTSD for first responders on Friday," 10 Sep. 2019 With columns on the south face apparently damaged, high stresses would likely have been communicated to columns on the building's other faces, thereby exceeding their load-bearing capacities. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Debunking the 9/11 Myths: Special Report - The World Trade Center," 10 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Such follow-up is crucial, stresses Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University’s School of Medicine in New York City. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "A new sickle cell drug could soon get U.S. approval. But does it work?," 17 Sep. 2019 The statement concluded by pledging a commitment to a safe and respectful work environment and stressing that the investigator’s report will not be released publicly due to privacy concerns. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Investigation into The Rookie actress Afton Williamson’s discrimination, bullying claims finds no wrongdoing," 17 Sep. 2019 Heart and lung disease Air pollution gets worse as temperatures rise, stressing both the heart and lungs. Emily Holden, Scientific American, "Climate Change Is Having Widespread Health Impacts," 16 Sep. 2019 No match is perfect, however, and the 46-year-old stressed that his side made mistakes on the ball, but hailed their defensive work after Leicester saw plenty of the ball against the Red Devils. SI.com, "Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford's Penalties & Man Utd's Win Over Leicester," 15 Sep. 2019 The beetles are drawn to the smell of trees stressed from drought. Andrew Kenney, The Denver Post, "A beetle that burrows into spruce trees has infected Denver city parks," 11 Sep. 2019 Keep stressing the red zone, getting in the end zone. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Tom Flacco’s 3 TD passes lead Towson in 42-3 victory over North Carolina Central," 8 Sep. 2019 In the aftermath, De Ladurantey said Toll administrators rallied around their students by offering to listen and stressing the importance of inclusion. Andrew J. Campa, Glendale News-Press, "Toll’s ‘always felt like home,’ new principal says," 6 Sep. 2019 While the Move’s sparse oval design wouldn’t look out of place next to previous Sonos speakers, the company is stressing the new speaker’s improved durability. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "Sonos finally makes a portable Bluetooth speaker—meet the Sonos Move," 5 Sep. 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

17 Oct 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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