verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

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.

Origin of stress

1275–1325; (noun) Middle English stresse, aphetic variant of distresse distress; (v.) derivative of the noun
Related formsstress·less, adjectivestress·less·ness, nounan·ti·stress, adjectivede-stress, verb (used with object)non·stress, nouno·ver·stressed, adjectivere·stress, verbun·der·stress, nounun·der·stress, verb (used with object)well-stressed, adjective
Can be confusedaccent stress Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stressing

Contemporary Examples of stressing

Historical Examples of stressing

  • "M. le Comte is not with me," she answered, stressing the title.


    Rafael Sabatini

  • Some distinguish these by stressing the different syllables.

    A Miscellany of Men

    G. K. Chesterton

  • Roland shivered at the venom that was revealed by the stressing of the word "officially."

  • Page 299-300, Notes, some of the words were missing the stressing accent.

    Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales

    Hans Christian Andersen

  • Tauchnitz claims that it should be pronounced "und," stressing the anti-penult.

    Of All Things

    Robert C. Benchley

British Dictionary definitions for stressing



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


(tr) to give emphasis or prominence to
(tr) to pronounce (a word or syllable) more loudly than those that surround it
(tr) to subject to stress or strain
informal (intr) to become stressed or anxious
Derived Formsstressful, adjectivestressfully, adverbstressfulness, noun

Word Origin for stress

C14: stresse, shortened from distress
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for stressing



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

stressing in Medicine




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.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

stressing in Science



The force per unit area applied to an object. Objects subject to stress tend to become distorted or deformed. Compare strain. See also axial stress shear stress. See 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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

stressing in Culture


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


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.


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.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.