There are 2 main definitions of stress in English:

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stress 1

Pronunciation: /strɛs/


[mass noun]
1Pressure or tension exerted on a material object: the distribution of stress is uniform across the bar
More example sentences
  • Less friction also reduces the stress imposed on the material.
  • For a hydro-fracture to form and propagate, fluid pressure must exceed horizontal stress plus the tensile strength of the overburden.
  • Application of NaCl to the root system of maize plants exerts a strong water stress onto the plants.
pressure, tension, strain, tightness, tautness
rare tensity
1.1The degree of stress measured in units of force per unit area.
Example sentences
  • The degree of stress differs in each specific case.
  • Consequently, local stress, defined as force per unit area, has to increase.
  • Fisher's PhD research involved using acoustics to measure stress in aluminum alloys.
2A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances: he’s obviously under a lot of stress [in combination]: stress-related illnesses
More example sentences
  • Motherwort is reputed to release tension caused by emotional and mental stress.
  • Some scientists believe that we are running out of sleep, put under mental strain by work stress, caffeine and late-night internet distractions.
  • Other cases clearly involve unbearable mental and emotional stress.
strain, pressure, tension, nervous tension, worry, anxiety, nervousness;
trouble, difficulty, distress, trauma, suffering, pain, grief
informal hassle
2.1 [count noun] Something that causes a state of strain or tension: the stresses and strains of public life
More example sentences
  • Babies often have an abnormal head shape as a result of the stresses and strains of labour, but most will revert to normal by the time they are six weeks' old.
  • But would these sprightly veterans have been better advised to avoid the stresses and strains of full-time toil in old age?
  • These stresses and strains have shown up because the euro is under pressure at the moment.
3Particular emphasis or importance: he has started to lay greater stress on the government’s role in industry
More example sentences
  • Second would be an increased emphasis on mega-churches and the corresponding stress on the importance of numbers rather than the transformation of lives.
  • A fourth part of King's self-help message was his stress on the fundamental importance of the traditional family.
  • This kind of stress on the importance of personal charity has its limitations; charitable actions may help a few, but are unlikely to reform society as a whole.
emphasis, importance, weight, force, insistence
3.1Emphasis 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 See also primary stress, secondary stress.
More example sentences
  • It is such differences in pitch and stress that automated speech synthesis methods have difficulty capturing and reproducing.
  • In words bearing stress on the third last syllable, and in which the penultimate syllable contains a schwa followed by either l or r, there is a tendency for the schwa to be elided.
  • Word stress is used primarily for emphasis and suffixes are stressed, as in readiness.


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
More example sentences
  • So, better sanitation, safe drinking water and general health awareness are the important points being stressed by the hospital.
  • In a statement, the university stresses the recommendation does not reflect on the quality of teaching and learning within the department.
  • The Commission stressed today's statement was simply outlining matters to be discussed and it had not reached a decision on any of the issues.
emphasize, draw attention to, focus attention on, underline, underscore, point up, place emphasis on, lay stress on, highlight, spotlight, turn the spotlight on, bring to the fore, foreground, accentuate, press home, impress on someone, make a point of, dwell on, harp on, belabour, insist on, rub in
1.1 [with object] Give emphasis to (a syllable or word) when pronouncing it: in French, the last syllable is usually stressed
More example sentences
  • There are a few cases where stressed syllables of content words are in weak positions.
  • She pronounces the unfamiliar word slowly, stressing each syllable, and confirms that the student knows the number of syllables in the word.
  • Latvian words are stressed on the first syllable, and written Latvian is largely phonetic.
place the emphasis on, give emphasis to, emphasize, place the accent on
2 [with object] Subject to pressure or tension: this type of workout does stress the shoulder and knee joints
More example sentences
  • The overall effect raises blood pressure, stresses the heart, and affects breathing and your mood.
  • Tuck your pelvis forward over your left skate to better leverage the right skate's pressure without stressing the knee.
  • The initial radiographic abnormalities predominate in the pressured or stressed segments of the joint.
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
More example sentences
  • Mum's eyes are bloodshot and strained; she's stressed out and on holiday.
  • We were older, strained, stressed, with mental and emotional burdens.
  • I'd like to reassure myself that I won't be stressed out as much, but I'm not overly optimistic about final results, so the back of my mind will always be worried and counting down to results day.
overstretch, overtax, push to the limit, pressurize, pressure, burden, make tense, cause to feel mental/emotional strain;
worry, upset, distress, harass
informal hassle
3.1 [no object] informal Become tense or anxious; worry: don’t stress—there’s plenty of time to get a grip on the situation
More example sentences
  • After all the crying, stressing, and worrying he'd been doing, I'd be tired too.
  • She's stressing about grants, hence worrying that she doesn't have enough data.
  • I'm studying for this exam in June and I'm stressing out.



Pronunciation: /ˈstrɛsləs/
Example sentences
  • By observing the movements of himself and others in large mirrors, he discovered that the key to efficient breathing, stressless posture and optimum physical performance lies in the relationship between the head, neck and spine.
  • Long ago, a Party known for internal knife fights perfected the art of the modern political convention - a seamless, stressless extravaganza.
  • We stand in silence watching more people join the line as others leave happily with their cones and cups blissed out, stressless, and not quite ready to go home.


sense 3 of the verb.
Example sentences
  • Questions about finding dependable health care are one of the biggest stressors for newly transplanted families to Bulgaria.
  • Even the most well-managed working mom should say ‘no’ to being overloaded with stressors.
  • Some of the external stressors that have been identified by Western research are very much applicable to the city context as well.


Middle English (denoting hardship or force exerted on a person for the purpose of compulsion): shortening of distress, or partly from Old French estresse 'narrowness, oppression', based on Latin strictus 'drawn tight' (see strict).

  • district from early 17th century:

    A district was originally the territory under the jurisdiction of a feudal lord. The word is from French, from medieval Latin districtus which meant ‘the constraining and restraining of offenders’ indicating the right to administer justice in a given area. It goes back to Latin distringere ‘hinder, detain’, found also in distress (Middle English), and its shortened form stress (Middle English).

Words that rhyme with stress

acquiesce, address, assess, Bess, bless, bouillabaisse, caress, cess, chess, coalesce, compress, confess, convalesce, cress, deliquesce, digress, dress, duchesse, duress, effervesce, effloresce, evanesce, excess, express, fess, finesse, fluoresce, guess, Hesse, impress, incandesce, intumesce, jess, largesse, less, manageress, mess, ness, noblesse, obsess, oppress, outguess, phosphoresce, politesse, possess, press, priestess, princess, process, profess, progress, prophetess, regress, retrogress, success, suppress, tendresse, top-dress, transgress, tress, tristesse, underdress, vicomtesse, yes
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There are 2 main definitions of stress in English:

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Pronunciation: /stres/

Entry from US English dictionary


A computer programming language designed for use in solving civil engineering structural analysis problems.


Acronym from str(uctural) e(ngineering) s(ystems) s(olver).

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