View synonyms for stress



[ stres ]


  1. importance attached to a thing:

    to lay stress upon good manners.

    Synonyms: worth, value, weight, consequence, emphasis, meaning, significance

  2. Phonetics. emphasis in the form of prominent relative loudness of a syllable or a word as a result of special effort in utterance.
  3. Prosody. accent or emphasis on syllables in a metrical pattern; beat.
  4. emphasis in melody, rhythm, etc.; beat.
  5. the physical pressure, pull, or other force exerted on one thing by another; strain.
    1. the action on a body of any system of balanced forces whereby strain or deformation results.
    2. the amount of stress, usually measured in pounds per square inch or in pascals.
    3. a load, force, or system of forces producing a strain.
    4. the internal resistance or reaction of an elastic body to the external forces applied to it.
    5. the ratio of force to area.
  6. Physiology. a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.
  7. physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension:

    Worry over his job and his wife's health put him under a great stress.

    Synonyms: strain, struggle, exertion, effort, oppression, pressure, burden, anxiety

  8. a situation, occurrence, or factor causing this:

    The stress of being trapped in the elevator gave him a pounding headache.

  9. Archaic. strong or straining exertion.

verb (used with object)

  1. to lay stress on; emphasize.
  2. Phonetics. to pronounce (a syllable or a word) with prominent loudness: Compare accent ( def 18 ).

    Stress the first syllable of “runner.” Stress the second word in “put up with.”

  3. to subject to stress or strain.
  4. Mechanics. to subject to stress.

verb (used without object)

  1. to experience stress or worry:

    Don't stress about the turkey; I promise it will be delicious.

    Dad is always stressing out over his job.


  1. a feminine equivalent of -ster:

    seamstress; songstress.



/ strɛs /


  1. special emphasis or significance attached to something
  2. mental, emotional, or physical strain or tension
  3. emphasis placed upon a syllable by pronouncing it more loudly than those that surround it
  4. such emphasis as part of a regular rhythmic beat in music or poetry
  5. a syllable so emphasized
  6. physics
    1. force or a system of forces producing deformation or strain
    2. the force acting per unit area


  1. tr to give emphasis or prominence to
  2. tr to pronounce (a word or syllable) more loudly than those that surround it
  3. tr to subject to stress or strain
  4. informal.
    intr to become stressed or anxious



suffix forming nouns

  1. indicating a woman who performs or is engaged in a certain activity Compare -ster




/ strĕs /

  1. The force per unit area applied to an object. Objects subject to stress tend to become distorted or deformed.
  2. Compare strainSee also axial stressSee more at Hooke's law
    1. A physiologic reaction by an organism to an uncomfortable or unfamiliar physical or psychological stimulus. Biological changes result from stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, including a heightened state of alertness, anxiety, increased heart rate, and sweating.
    2. The stimulus or circumstance causing such a reaction.


  1. 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 .


  1. In physics , the internal resistance of an object to an external force that tends to deform it.
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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.”
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Derived Forms

  • ˈstressful, adjective
  • ˈstressfully, adverb
  • ˈstressfulness, noun
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Other Words From

  • stressless adjective
  • stressless·ness noun
  • anti·stress adjective
  • de-stress verb (used with object)
  • non·stress noun
  • over·stressed adjective
  • re·stress verb
  • under·stress noun
  • under·stress verb (used with object)
  • well-stressed adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of stress1

First recorded in 1275–1325; (noun) Middle English stresse, aphetic variant of distresse; (verb) derivative of the noun; distress

Origin of stress2

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Word History and Origins

Origin of stress1

C14: stresse, shortened from distress

Origin of stress2

from -st ( e ) r + -ess
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Example Sentences

Obsessive exercising and inadequate nutrition can, over time, put people at high risk for overuse injuries like stress fractures.

Yes, cops are under stress and tension (though their jobs are far less dangerous than normally supposed).

Nor do these studies address the structural and systematic issues that contribute to obesity, such as poverty and stress.

It also means not having to stress about cleaning out your DVR.

Moreover, trucks, dust, and boomtown stress are the effects of any large-scale industrial activity.

Feeling himself irresistibly driven by the sudden stress to some kind of action, he sprang to his feet—and screamed!

This description is only imperfect in this point that sufficient stress is not laid on the words fall off.

Although many British actors and musicians were participants in this theater, it often suffered from financial stress.

They looked over the parapet because that method was more sure and quick, and the stress of the battle was great.

It is not necessary to repeat the outlines of his political attitude during the storm and stress of Wallace's memorable struggle.


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Words That Use -Stress

What does -stress mean?

The form -stress is a suffix that marks a feminine agent noun, which indicates a person who does an action. This suffix is occasionally used in a variety of informal terms, but it has lost popularity in recent years. Increasingly, -stress is seen as an unnecessarily gendered suffix for forming agent nouns because it identifies the “doer” as female.

The suffix -stress is a combination of two similar suffixes: Old English -estre, which marked female agent nouns, and Old French -esse (see -ess), a common feminine ending for nouns.

What are variants of -stress?

When agent nouns ending in -stress are used to refer to a masculine- or neutral-gendered element, -stress becomes -ster, as in seamster (a male seamstress).

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use -ster article.

Examples of -stress

A term that features the suffix -stress is songstress, “a female singer, especially one who specializes in popular songs.”

The song- part of the word here refers to the tunes that are sung. The suffix -stress denotes a female agent, or “doer,” and songstress therefore literally means “female singer of songs.”

What are some words that use the suffix -stress?

What are some other forms that -stress may be commonly confused with?

Not every word that ends with the letters -stress is necessarily using the suffix -stress to denote a female agent noun. Some words that end with -stress, such as mistress, are still reserved (though not without due criticism) for women. However, other words, such as distress and its derivative stress, share the letters -stress purely as a coincidence.

Break it down!

A seamster is a person whose occupation is sewing. Given what you know about the meaning of -stress, what is a seamstress?