Definition of stress in English:



mass noun
  • 1Pressure or tension exerted on a material object.

    ‘the distribution of stress is uniform across the bar’
    • ‘They too help reduce stress and pressure on the bearings.’
    • ‘A poro-elastic model which includes a coupling of fluid pressure and local stress would also affect the scale of the intrusion complex.’
    • ‘Material stress is the least controllable and most troublesome characteristic.’
    • ‘Measuring the degree of curvature in a surface helps determine potential bending stress and material strain.’
    • ‘This would exert further mechanical stress on the pigments of the pastel increasing the likelihood of dislodgement.’
    • ‘Using excessive pressure can damage equipment and exert great stress on air hoses.’
    • ‘A key feature of this flow field is the kinematic linearity, i.e., doubling the pipette pressure doubles the shear stress on the cell surface.’
    • ‘The application of controlled subatmospheric pressure causes mechanical stress to tissues.’
    • ‘The force of that gradient exerts massive stress on the structures.’
    • ‘In addition, the top is heated before fitting to reduce stress on the material and improve its fit.’
    • ‘In the vertebrate vascular system, shear stress exerted by blood flow has substantial effects on endothelial cell morphology and behavior.’
    • ‘This compression is significantly reduced in the upper crust above the anomalous central region by the superimposed tensional loading stress.’
    • ‘Using atomic-scale simulations, it is possible to visualise how atoms move and interact as a material deforms under stress.’
    • ‘Application of NaCl to the root system of maize plants exerts a strong water stress onto the plants.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Osmotic stress and potential defects in small ion or metabolite transport were examined on 1.2 M NaCl plates.’
    • ‘An example is the stress on a material, such as a construction beam in a bridge.’
    • ‘Lower pressure means less stress on the structure of the habitat and less leakage.’
    • ‘Most modern sensors are electronic and work on the principle that temperature, pressure or stress affects the electrical behaviour of the sensor.’
    pressure, tension, strain, tightness, tautness
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    1. 1.1 The degree of stress measured in units of force per unit area.
      • ‘The degree of stress associated with high and low ambient temperatures is compounded by high humidity.’
      • ‘Fisher's PhD research involved using acoustics to measure stress in aluminum alloys.’
      • ‘But Hahn thinks that ‘the animal is the best sensor,’ and respiration rate is a way to measure heat stress.’
      • ‘Since neither antioxidant capacity nor oxidative stress was measured, an element of doubt about the adequacy of the antioxidant mix or dose is reasonable.’
      • ‘Consequently, local stress, defined as force per unit area, has to increase.’
      • ‘The degree of stress differs in each specific case.’
      • ‘Use of the undeformed area to calculate stress had the effect of flattening the curves, so linear regression coefficients were compared.’
      • ‘Measures of oxidative stress are correlated with the degree of impairment of LV function.’
      • ‘Both stress measures yielded results that were equivalent to the original model.’
      • ‘Parameters of glycation and oxidative stress were measured before and after the intervention.’
  • 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’
    • ‘It is often said that asthma can be triggered by emotional stress.’
    • ‘His doctor soon signed him off work with severe stress and high blood pressure.’
    • ‘Motherwort is reputed to release tension caused by emotional and mental stress.’
    • ‘Although stress makes blood pressure rise temporarily, there's doubt about whether it can contribute to a long-term increase.’
    • ‘It is also well documented that aggression and ‘pushiness’ can also contribute to high levels of stress and feeling pressurised.’
    • ‘Nervousness and stress can increase blood pressure which in turn will increase glomerular filtration.’
    • ‘He cannot work under stress and tension due to his very high blood pressure.’
    • ‘But I was very careful to not make too big of a deal about it so that I didn't pile on pressure and stress or and make him hesitant to be honest with me if he went back to it.’
    • ‘Glucocorticoids released during stress also exert profound effects on endocrine function by acting both in the periphery and in the brain.’
    • ‘Only five per cent of Manchester firms are taking measures to prevent stress - the biggest cause of workers taking time off sick.’
    • ‘Walking can lower blood pressure, relieve stress, minimise the risk of strokes and diabetes and keeps you fit.’
    • ‘Perspective and practice lend you ways to deal with stress and cope with pressure.’
    • ‘Many factors can affect blood pressure, including stress, diet, drug abuse, disease and environmental conditions.’
    • ‘But if you haven't prepared for it and you aren't confident with that situation, then that pressure develops into stress.’
    • ‘As stress and pressure started to increase again, I found myself looking at my still cuffed wrist while my hand tightened on the pen.’
    • ‘Kids might start smoking because of peer pressure, to relieve stress, or to rebel against their parents.’
    • ‘Some scientists believe that we are running out of sleep, put under mental strain by work stress, caffeine and late-night internet distractions.’
    • ‘As with caffeine, the influence of stress on blood pressure isn't settled.’
    • ‘Other cases clearly involve unbearable mental and emotional stress.’
    • ‘Noise can also cause stress, high blood pressure, fatigue, loss of sleep and anxiety.’
    strain, pressure, tension, nervous tension, worry, anxiety, nervousness
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    1. 2.1count noun Something that causes a state of strain or tension.
      ‘the stresses and strains of public life’
      • ‘I want other parents to be able to enjoy the last few weeks with their child, without having any of the stresses and strains Richard and I had.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was built conveniently close to the bath-house where the ancients could take to the soothing waters to wash away the stresses and strains of their long journey.’
      • ‘Exercise actually helps us to fight against anxiety and depression, and a strong immune system makes the mind better able to cope with life's stresses and strains.’
      • ‘It couldn't be more appropriate, for Rosneath Castle Park is the perfect place to unwind and relax, free from the stresses and strains of modern living and an retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.’
      • ‘These stresses and strains have shown up because the euro is under pressure at the moment.’
      • ‘Such an approach - although it is not by any means a secular one - might ease, rather than worsen, the stresses and strains of Indian public life.’
      • ‘But would these sprightly veterans have been better advised to avoid the stresses and strains of full-time toil in old age?’
      • ‘A masseur from Bradford on Avon is hoping her new book on Indian head massage will see the traditional relaxation techniques become the solution to the stresses and strains of everyday life.’
      • ‘Young adults bonded and relieved their stresses and strains.’
      • ‘It is essential to speak to a qualified herbal practitioner before launching into experiments with herbal medicine, but many herbal teas are a perfect tonic for some of life's stresses and strains.’
      • ‘It's sustained a lot of stresses and strains before, although of course the media age brings it home to people with an intensity and immediacy that didn't previously exist.’
      • ‘Whether used as a weekend antidote to the stresses and strains of city living or purely as an investment, owning a second home may not be as financially straightforward as it might appear.’
      • ‘As many return to the stresses and strains of work - perhaps a few festive pounds heavier - local companies are being invited to help employees fulfil some New Year resolutions.’
      • ‘It might look like a long-lost exhibit from a medieval torture chamber, but this chair is designed to ease away the stresses and strains of the working day.’
      • ‘This was for entirely good reasons: the blissed-out holiday feeling never went away and - touch wood - the stresses and strains of earlier this year remain utterly tamed.’
      • ‘Whether it's sleepless nights, mood swings or loss of appetite, the chances are that the stresses and strains of everyday life have affected you at some point.’
      • ‘The course deals with the stresses and strains of the individual driver and how to deal with conflict in the back of a cab.’
      • ‘After only one day in charge of the players, Derek and I were promptly made aware of the stresses and strains that Gerry and every other manager at a smaller club is forced to work under.’
      • ‘It's about three and a half months since I moved into this flat, and during that time it's been little more than a bolt-hole from the stresses and strains of work, to be honest.’
  • 3Particular emphasis or importance.

    ‘he has started to lay greater stress on the government's role in industry’
    • ‘Clinton said politicians worldwide, including himself, had not put enough stress on the benefits of importing goods from other countries.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That is why I find so welcome Mathewes's stress on the importance of memory as at the heart of my concern with liberalism and modernity.’
    • ‘Along with his brother, he then formed a pop-rock band which laid stress on a combination of vocals and guitar.’
    • ‘Soviet staff manuals laid stress on the importance of deception, and divided it into strategic, operational, and tactical levels.’
    • ‘There is now much more stress on the importance of what distinguishes people - on tradition, identity, authenticity, the politics of difference.’
    • ‘Second would be an increased emphasis on mega-churches and the corresponding stress on the importance of numbers rather than the transformation of lives.’
    • ‘This exemplifies his wider, justified stress, on the importance of Burgundian-Netherlands culture and protagonists for Italian culture.’
    • ‘His stress on the importance of China in the world situation was ‘petty bourgeois chauvinism’.’
    • ‘A fourth part of King's self-help message was his stress on the fundamental importance of the traditional family.’
    • ‘The stress upon the Word did not wholly eradicate the powerful effectiveness of the image.’
    • ‘When you hear the rhythm of the guitar playing faster as you fight through a wall of enemies, then you'll understand the importance and stress on music.’
    • ‘Equally important is his stress on what he describes as ‘the genealogical imagination’ which typified an age obsessed by pedigree and ancestry.’
    • ‘The difference was his stress on mass consciousness as the driving force of revolution.’
    emphasis, importance, weight, force, insistence
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    1. 3.1 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’
      • ‘However, many researchers consider that the simplified grammar and marked stress patterns have an important role in making the structure of speech more accessible to the child.’
      • ‘The name is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable.’
      • ‘Further examples of this style of stress and emphasis can be found in all these three initial verses of the text.’
      • ‘He highlights intonationally the syllable of each word that is its normal main stress.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The point was to begin to have to listen, to become aware of syllable and stress, though I didn't use those words yet, not until we went over their lyrics in the second class.’
      • ‘The spelling is fundamentally phonetic and the stress falls on the next to last syllable unless indicated by an accent mark.’
      • ‘He could not manage the soft tone of a human voice or juggle the stress on certain vowels and words, and on those he could it always came out angered sounding.’
      • ‘It is the stress on the word ‘the’ that makes all the difference.’
      • ‘In words of three syllables or more, stress usually falls on the penultimate syllable.’
      • ‘The normally-stressed vowel is deleted, with stress shifted back to the initial syllable.’
      • ‘The same word in Korean might mean two different things, depending on the context and word stress.’
      • ‘‘He abandoned mutti,’ Liena explained, with heavy stress on the final word.’
      • ‘But there are computer programs that analyse speech to detect stress.’
      • ‘Word stress is used primarily for emphasis and suffixes are stressed, as in readiness.’
      emphasis, accent, accentuation
      View synonyms


  • 1reporting 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’
    • ‘The importance of Darwin's ideas is stressed by Parkadze, a childhood friend of Stalin's.’
    • ‘He released a statement, stressing the importance of getting a routine physical exam, so that the cancer can be detected early.’
    • ‘No negative thoughts or vibes whatsoever went into the making of it, which I stress is very important.’
    • ‘Tutors often stress breaks as an important element to study, but if I was compelled to do an hour's work before breakfast every morning, life would be so much easier.’
    • ‘Along similar lines, you always stress that it's important to put everything to the test of reason, and not accept things automatically.’
    • ‘Even while he ignores his own part in the equation, one thing English does stress, over and over, is the importance of a good panel in the modern game.’
    • ‘He stressed the point that the impact of his writings was so deep that even many western scholars could not resist it.’
    • ‘Another thing I think is really important to stress is that anyone, no matter how old he or she is, has the right to speak out and take action.’
    • ‘Some of the points stressed by the participants were quite noteworthy.’
    • ‘In a statement, the university stresses the recommendation does not reflect on the quality of teaching and learning within the department.’
    • ‘We have been stressing these points for years but are we getting there?’
    • ‘It could have come from a guest or a member of staff but the most important thing to stress is that it is a common bug that is prevalent in the community not just at Center Parcs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Free speech may well be in the minds of judges - and indeed, many judges in media cases stress how important free speech is.’
    • ‘I think that a very important point to stress is that these are weapons of mass disruption rather than mass destruction.’
    • ‘Mahasin's statement stresses the importance of discrimination as a factor determining her move.’
    • ‘The essays also stress how important were the dynamics of receiving cultures for the appropriation and interpretation of Christianity.’
    • ‘As we shall see, it is not easy to answer this simple question, especially since some passages underline his importance, while others stress his inferiority to Jesus.’
    • ‘So, better sanitation, safe drinking water and general health awareness are the important points being stressed by the hospital.’
    • ‘How can this be achieved if only the bad points are stressed all the time?’
    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
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    1. 1.1with object Give emphasis to (a syllable or word) when pronouncing it.
      ‘in French, the last syllable is usually stressed’
      • ‘He stresses every syllable of his words with an authoritative tone.’
      • ‘The difficulty seems to lie primarily in getting used to the odd way metre will stress unimportant words or syllables.’
      • ‘She stressed the word with more emphasis than she needed.’
      • ‘Bob manages to make very obvious things sound like genius by stressing his words and using his arms for emphasis.’
      • ‘‘Don't go near my crew,’ he ground out, stressing each word.’
      • ‘She pronounces the unfamiliar word slowly, stressing each syllable, and confirms that the student knows the number of syllables in the word.’
      • ‘She stresses each syllable at different times.’
      • ‘He stressed each word in the last sentence separately, his gaze leveled on the seven attorneys and judges who would decide the 2003 champion.’
      • ‘He stresses the last word, and I stare at him indifferently.’
      • ‘The words above are stressed on the first syllable.’
      • ‘‘We all know that isn't going to work,’ Ron said, stressing the word ‘that’.’
      • ‘The last stressed vowel in the line, with all sounds following it, usually comprises the rhyming element.’
      • ‘The way Michael stressed the word ‘our’ was not lost on Christina.’
      • ‘There are a few cases where stressed syllables of content words are in weak positions.’
      • ‘‘You know how to operate this’ she spat, stressing each word quietly.’
      • ‘‘They were,’ Tiffany said, stressing the second word.’
      • ‘Latvian words are stressed on the first syllable, and written Latvian is largely phonetic.’
      • ‘The word she prefers to stress is ‘recognition’, which recurs throughout this thought-provoking meditation.’
      place the emphasis on, give emphasis to, emphasize, place the accent on
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  • 2with object Subject to pressure or tension.

    ‘this type of workout does stress the shoulder and knee joints’
    • ‘Lowering your arms below mid-chest or angled toward your head can excessively stress your shoulders.’
    • ‘Don't arch your back, push your ribs out or hunch your shoulders; each stresses the spine and neck.’
    • ‘Make certain every workout stresses your muscles in new ways, great or small.’
    • ‘The overall effect raises blood pressure, stresses the heart, and affects breathing and your mood.’
    • ‘This group have instead put together a record whose super-mellow production is as relaxing as a pair of massaging hands on overly stressed shoulders.’
    • ‘The initial radiographic abnormalities predominate in the pressured or stressed segments of the joint.’
    • ‘Front delts are stressed by all shoulder presses and front raises, and they also assist in compound chest movements.’
    • ‘Don't bring the leg in so far it bends or hunch your shoulders; this stresses the hamstrings and the spine and neck.’
    • ‘Tuck your pelvis forward over your left skate to better leverage the right skate's pressure without stressing the knee.’
    • ‘Don't use a weight so heavy that you have to shrug your shoulders; this stresses your neck and back when you bring the weight overhead.’
  • 3with object Cause mental or emotional strain or tension in.

    ‘I avoid many of the things that used to stress me before’
    ‘she should see a doctor if she is feeling particularly stressed out’
    • ‘While the rest of the country is stressed out and living on a short fuse, Scots apparently have a laid - back attitude to life, with a lower stress level than other parts of the UK.’
    • ‘Everyone around me at work is stressed out, and I'm feeling it, too.’
    • ‘So much stuff was tormenting me, stressing me out.’
    • ‘Most psychologically stressed patients don't bother to discuss their problems with their doctors.’
    • ‘Mum's eyes are bloodshot and strained; she's stressed out and on holiday.’
    • ‘Nurses, in particular, were less stressed by the tension of attending to both the patient and the patient's family.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When I am stressed out, I have the option to say no.’
    • ‘If the client is highly stressed, the trainer should take him outdoors, walking, or even mountain biking, on some beautiful trails in the Chaguaramas area.’
    • ‘So often, we hear people say that they are stressed out.’
    • ‘Take your time; I don't want you to be too stressed and agitated.’
    • ‘I'm stressed, and there is way too much pressure being put upon me by the school and others, myself included.’
    • ‘With pressure like this it's hardly any wonder I'm stressed.’
    • ‘We were older, strained, stressed, with mental and emotional burdens.’
    • ‘Owning a cat or dog means you are less likely to be stressed, have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.’
    • ‘There are so many commuters who are stressed out from travelling and I wanted to give them some way to express their frustration.’
    • ‘We were pretty stressed out trying to manage it.’
    • ‘He was very stressed out with everything going on in his life.’
    • ‘It is his escape from an arduous and unrewarding job and the home he shares with his mentally-ill mother, troublesome children and stressed wife.’
    • ‘‘I was very good at maths but I never learned anything because I was too stressed out,’ she said.’
    overstretch, overtax, push to the limit, pressurize, pressure, burden, make tense, cause to feel emotional strain, cause to feel mental strain
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    1. 3.1informal no object Become tense or anxious; worry.
      ‘don't stress—there's plenty of time to get a grip on the situation’
      • ‘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 stressing over my daughter's 5th birthday party.’
      • ‘I'm studying for this exam in June and I'm stressing out.’


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).