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See more synonyms for unstressed on Thesaurus.com
  1. without stress or emphasis, as a syllable in a word.
  2. not receiving or subjected to stress, wear, etc.: the unstressed parts of a car body.
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Origin of unstressed

First recorded in 1880–85; un-1 + stress + -ed2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for unstressed

Historical Examples

  • This rhythm is obtained by mingling stressed and unstressed syllables.

    Irradiations; Sand and Spray

    John Gould Fletcher

  • The number of unstressed syllables at the end of a line is not fixed.

  • The former, the rest, is a pause used to take the place of an unstressed element.

  • The monosyllabic foot in which the unstressed element is missing offers no difficulty.

  • Began: notice the quality of the vowel in the first, unstressed syllable of this word.

British Dictionary definitions for unstressed


  1. carrying relatively little stress; unemphasized
  2. phonetics of, relating to, or denoting the weakest accent in a word or breath group, which in some languages, such as English or German, is also associated with a reduction in vowel quality to a centralized (i) or (a)
  3. prosody (of a syllable in verse) having no stress or accent
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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