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1pressure or tension exerted on a material object:the distribution of stress is uniform across the bar the degree of pressure exerted on a material object measured in units of force per unit area. 2a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances:he’s obviously under a lot of stress [in combination]:stress-related illnesses something that causes mental strain:the stresses and strains of public life 3particular emphasis or importance:he has started to lay greater stress on the government’s role in industry emphasis given to a particular syllable or word in speech, typically through a combination of relatively greater loudness, higher pitch, and longer duration:normally, the stress falls on the first syllable
1 [reporting verb] give particular emphasis or importance to (a point, statement, or idea) made in speech or writing: [with object]:they stressed the need for reform [with clause]:she was anxious to stress that her daughter’s safety was her only concern [with direct speech]:“I want it done very, very neatly,” she stressed [with object] give emphasis to (a syllable or word) when pronouncing it.
2 [with object] subject to pressure or tension:this type of workout does stress the shoulder and knee joints
3 [with object] cause mental or emotional strain or tension in:I avoid many of the things that used to stress me before (as adjective stressed)she should see a doctor if she is feeling particularly stressed out [no object] informal become tense or anxious; worry:don’t stress—there’s plenty of time to get a grip on the situation