stress·​or | \ˈstre-sər, -ˌsȯr\

Definition of stressor 

: a stimulus that causes stress

Examples of stressor in a Sentence

Credit card debt is a major stressor in her life.

Recent Examples on the Web

Calabrese and his supporters argue that smaller exposures of cell-damaging radiation and other carcinogens can serve as stressors that activate the body’s repair mechanisms and can make people healthier. Ellen Knickmeyer, The Seattle Times, "APNewsBreak: EPA says a little radiation may be healthy," 2 Oct. 2018 This analysis monitored which genes are active only in certain tissues, which are active only during certain times during development, and which are active when the wheat was exposed to different stressors. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "The nightmarishly complex wheat genome finally yields to scientists," 16 Aug. 2018 The profilers also tried to develop stressors or breaking points that potential shooters may have in common to help school officials, family members or co-workers recognize a potential mass shooter. Dave Altimari,, "FBI Report Says Mass Shooters Obtain Guns Legally, Usually Give Off Signals Before Shooting Spree," 27 June 2018 The highest stressors for most moms included insufficient finances, the burden of caring for a medically complex child, the unexpected impact on the family, and problems with their support network. Erica Sood, Phd,, "Fathers of seriously ill children experience stress differently than mothers," 27 June 2018 Although troubling, this is not surprising given the inherent stressors in our profession. Jane Wooldridge, miamiherald, "Following wave of suicides, Florida Bar president put mental health on the docket," 9 June 2018 Identify specific stressors, write them down, and outline ways to control them better. Nick Heil, Outside Online, "Blame Your Junk Food Cravings on Your Unhealthy Brain," 3 July 2018 The study noted, although, that a large portion of shooters, about 62 percent, were dealing with stressors in their lives such as depression, anxiety and paranoia before their attack. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "Most shooters got their guns legally, didn't have diagnosed mental illness, new FBI report says," 20 June 2018 That means that REN’s Anti-Pollution Mist and Global Protection Day Cream, which allegedly helps protect skin against environmental stressors like smoke and pollution, will be zero-waste soon. Shannon Barbour, The Cut, "This Skin-Care Brand Is Going Zero Waste," 30 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stressor.' 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 stressor

1950, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for stressor

Last Updated

20 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for stressor

The first known use of stressor was in 1950

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More Definitions for stressor



English Language Learners Definition of stressor

: something that makes you worried or anxious : a source of stress


stress·​or | \ˈstres-ər, -ˌȯ(ə)r \

Medical Definition of stressor 

: a stimulus that causes stress psychological stressors

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Comments on stressor

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noxious or harmful

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