AskDefine | Define stress

Dictionary Definition



1 the relative prominence of a syllable or musical note (especially with regard to stress or pitch); "he put the stress on the wrong syllable" [syn: emphasis, accent]
2 (psychology) a state of mental or emotional strain or suspense; "he suffered from fatigue and emotional tension"; "stress is a vasoconstrictor" [syn: tension, tenseness]
3 (physics) force that produces strain on a physical body; "the intensity of stress is expressed in units of force divided by units of area"
4 special emphasis attached to something; "the stress was more on accuracy than on speed" [syn: focus]
5 difficulty that causes worry or emotional tension; "she endured the stresses and strains of life"; "he presided over the economy during the period of the greatest stress and danger"- R.J.Samuelson [syn: strain]


1 to stress, single out as important; "Dr. Jones emphasizes exercise in addition to a change in diet" [syn: emphasize, emphasise, punctuate, accent, accentuate]
2 put stress on; utter with an accent; "In Farsi, you accent the last syllable of each word" [syn: accent, accentuate]
3 test the limits of; "You are trying my patience!" [syn: try, strain]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Stress



  • /stɹɛs/


  1. In the context of "countable|physics": The internal distribution of force per unit area (pressure) within a body reacting to applied forces which causes strain or deformation and is typically symbolised by σ
  2. In the context of "countable|physics": externally applied to a body which cause internal stress within the body.
  3. Emotional pressure suffered by a human being or other animal.
  4. In the context of "uncountable|phonetics": The emphasis placed on a syllable of a word.
    Some people put the stress on the first syllable of “controversy”; others put it on the second.
  5. Emphasis placed on words in speaking.
  6. Emphasis placed on a particular point in an argument or discussion (whether spoken or written).



emotional pressure
on a syllable
when speaking
on a point in an argument


  1. To apply force to (a body or structure) causing strain.
  2. To apply emotional pressure to (a person or animal).
  3. To emphasise (a syllable of a word).
    “Emphasis” is stressed on the first syllable, but “emphatic” is stressed on the second.
  4. To emphasise (words in speaking).
  5. To emphasise (a point) in an argument or discussion.
    I must stress that this information is given in strict confidence.


apply force to, causing strain
apply emotional pressure to
emphasise (a syllable)
emphasise (words in speaking)
emphasise (a point)

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

Stress may refer to:



  • Stress (medicine), medical or psychological stress; types of medical stress include:
    • Acute stress, short term stress which leads to that particular days distress/discomfort
    • Chronic stress, persistent stress which can lead to illness and mental disorder
    • Eustress, positive stress that can lead to improved long-term functioning
  • Workplace stress, stress caused by employment



stress in German: Stress (Begriffsklärung)
stress in French: Stress (homonymie)
stress in Korean: 스트레스
stress in Icelandic: Streita
stress in Italian: Stress
stress in Hebrew: מאמץ
stress in Japanese: ストレス
stress in Slovak: Stres
stress in Ukrainian: Стрес
stress in Chinese: 壓力

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Alexandrine, accent, accentuate, accentuation, ache, aching, adverse circumstances, adversity, affliction, aggravation, ambivalence, ambivalence of impulse, amphibrach, amphimacer, anacrusis, anapest, anguish, annoyance, antispast, anxiety, arsis, assault, bacchius, bear, bear upon, bearing, beat, belabor, blight, blow, boost, buck, bull, bulldoze, bummer, bump, bump against, bunt, burden, butt, butt against, cadence, caesura, care, catalexis, chloriamb, chloriambus, clutch, colon, compulsion, concern, concernment, conflict, consequence, consequentiality, consideration, constraint, counterpoint, cram, cramp, cretic, crisis, cross, crowd, crunch, curse, cut, dactyl, dactylic hexameter, decompensation, diaeresis, difficulties, difficulty, dig, dimeter, dipody, distress, disturb, dochmiac, dolor, downer, drive, dwell on, elbow, elegiac, elegiac couplet, elegiac pentameter, emergency, emotional shock, emphasis, emphasize, epitrite, excellence, exigency, external frustration, feature, feminine caesura, focus on, foot, force, forcefulness, frustration, give emphasis to, goad, grief, harass, hard knocks, hard life, hard lot, hardcase, hardship, harp on, haul, head, heave, heptameter, heptapody, heroic couplet, hexameter, hexapody, high order, high pressure, high rank, highlight, hurt, hurtle, hustle, iamb, iambic, iambic pentameter, ictus, imperativeness, import, importance, impulse, impulsion, injury, insistence, interest, ionic, irk, irritation, italicize, jab, jam, jingle, jog, joggle, jolt, jostle, lesion, level of stress, lilt, mark, masculine caesura, materiality, measure, mental shock, mental strain, merit, meter, metrical accent, metrical foot, metrical group, metrical unit, metrics, metron, molossus, moment, mora, movement, nasty blow, nervous strain, nervous tension, note, nudge, numbers, overaccentuate, overemphasize, overexert, overexertion, overextend, overextension, overstrain, overstress, overtax, overtaxing, paeon, pain, pang, paramountcy, passion, pentameter, pentapody, period, pile drive, pinch, place emphasis on, play up, plight, point up, poke, precedence, predicament, preeminence, press, pressure, primacy, primary stress, priority, proceleusmatic, prod, prominence, prosodics, prosody, psychological stress, pull, punch, punctuate, push, pyrrhic, quantity, rack, ram, ram down, rash impulse, rattle, rhythm, rhythmic pattern, rhythmical stress, rigor, rub in, run, run against, sea of troubles, secondary stress, self-importance, shake, shock, shoulder, shove, significance, sore, sore spot, spasm, spondee, spotlight, sprung rhythm, star, strain, strain every nerve, straining, stress accent, stress and strain, stress of life, stress pattern, stressfulness, stretch, stroke, suffering, superiority, supremacy, sweat blood, swing, syzygy, tamp, tautness, tax, taxing, tender spot, tense, tenseness, tension, tertiary stress, tetrameter, tetrapody, tetraseme, thesis, throes, thrust, torque, torsion, trauma, traumatism, trial, tribrach, tribulation, trimeter, tripody, triseme, trochee, trouble, troubles, try, tug, underline, underscore, upset, urge, urgency, vale of tears, value, vicissitude, weak stress, weight, worry, worth, wound, wrench
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