[ uhn-strest ]
See 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.

Origin of unstressed

First recorded in 1880–85; un-1 + stress + -ed2

Words Nearby unstressed

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use unstressed in a sentence

  • Initial h before unstressed vowels is only pronounced when preceded by a pause.

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

  • You use more force for the stressed than for the unstressed vowels, that is to say, you put more breath into them.

  • The monotony of a series of stressed or of unstressed sounds would be unbearable.

    Division of Words | Frederick W. Hamilton
  • Here the assonance is -er (final unstressed -er in standard present-day English represents vocalic r).

British Dictionary definitions for unstressed


/ (ʌnˈstrɛst) /

  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)

  1. prosody (of a syllable in verse) having no stress or accent

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