c.1300, "hardship, adversity, force, pressure," in part a shortening of Middle French destresse (see distress), in part from Old French estrece "narrowness, oppression," from Vulgar Latin *strictia, from Latin strictus "compressed," past participle of stringere "draw tight" (see strain (v.)). The purely psychological sense is attested from 1942.
c.1300, "to subject (someone) to force or compulsion," from the source of stress (n.). The figurative meaning "put emphasis on" is first recorded 1896, from notion of laying pressure on something by relying on it. Related: Stressed; stressing.
An applied force or system of forces that tends to strain or deform a body.
The resisting force set up in a body as a result of an externally applied force.
A physical or psychological stimulus that can produce mental tension or physiological reactions that may lead to illness.
A physical factor, such as injury, or mental state, such as anxiety, that disturbs the body's normal state of functioning. Stress may contribute to the development of some illnesses, including heart disease and cancer.
Note: The term stress also refers to the physical and mental state produced in the body when it is influenced by such factors: “The stress of the new job was too much for Tim, so he requested reassignment to his old position in the company.”