[ stres-fuhl ]
/ ˈstrɛs fəl /
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full of stress or tension: the stressful days before a war.



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Origin of stressful

First recorded in 1850–55; stress + -ful


stress·ful·ly, adverbun·stress·ful, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does stressful mean?

Stressful means full of stress or causing stress. It’s typically used to describe situations or experiences, such as stressful meetings, stressful trips, or a stressful day.

In stressful, the word stress means mental or emotional strain or tension—that all-too-familiar feeling of anxiety, worry, and pressure. Things that are stressful cause people to feel stressed.

Example: Trying to study for my math test while also babysitting my three little brothers was incredibly stressful.

Where does stressful come from?

The first records of the word stressful come from the 1850s. The word stress is first recorded around 1300. The suffix -ful is used to create adjectives.

Things can be stressful for a lot of reasons. A situation could be considered stressful due to potential danger, or difficult interactions with difficult people, or worry about how something will turn out. If someone says they had a stressful day, it means that whatever happened caused them to feel pressure or anxiety.

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What are some other forms related to stressful?

  • stressfully (adverb)
  • unstressful

What are some synonyms for stressful?

What are some words that share a root or word element with stressful


What are some words that often get used in discussing stressful?


How is stressful used in real life?

Stressful is used to describe the kind of situations that make you feel pressure and anxiety. It’s often used to describe a bad day at work.




Try using stressful!

Which of the following situations could be described as stressful?

A. moving to a new city to start a new job
B. getting a flat tire on the way to your first day of work
C. getting stuck in an elevator
D. all of the above

How to use stressful in a sentence