- the action on a body of any system of balanced forces whereby strain or deformation results.
- the amount of stress, usually measured in pounds per square inch or in pascals.
- a load, force, or system of forces producing a strain.
- the internal resistance or reaction of an elastic body to the external forces applied to it.
- the ratio of force to area.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
Origin of stress
- force or a system of forces producing deformation or strain
- the force acting per unit area
Word Origin for stress
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.
- 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.
- The stimulus or circumstance causing such a reaction.