Meaning of STRESS in English


I. stress 1 S3 W3 AC /stres/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ stressed , ↑ stressful ; verb : ↑ stress ; noun : ↑ stress ]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Origin: distress ]

1 . WORRY [uncountable and countable] continuous feelings of worry about your work or personal life, that prevent you from relaxing ⇨ strain :

Your headaches are due to stress.

Janet’s been under a lot of stress since her mother’s illness.

all the stresses of public life

A lot of illnesses are stress-related.

2 . FORCE [uncountable and countable] the physical force or pressure on an object:

Shoes with high heels put a great deal of stress on knees and ankles.

3 . IMPORTANCE [uncountable] the special attention or importance given to a particular idea, fact, or activity SYN emphasis

put/lay stress on something

Pugh laid particular stress on the need for discipline.

4 . WORD/MUSIC [uncountable and countable] the degree of force or loudness with which a part of a word is pronounced or a note in music is played, which makes it sound stronger than other parts or notes

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■ verbs

▪ suffer from stress

If you are suffering from stress, you may be more likely to become ill.

▪ cause stress

Moving house often causes stress.

▪ cope with/deal with stress

People find different ways of dealing with stress.

▪ reduce/relieve stress

Don’t resort to alcohol to relieve your stress.

■ adjectives

▪ great/considerable/enormous

Staff experienced considerable stress as a result of the changes.

▪ mental/emotional stress

It was a time of great emotional stress for me.

■ phrases

▪ be under stress

She's been under a lot of stress lately.

▪ a cause of stress

Balancing work and family is the main cause of stress for many people.

▪ signs/symptoms/effects of stress

Headaches, migraines, and irritability are all signs of stress.


The effects of stress are subtle and sometimes difficult to see.

▪ sb’s stress level ( also sb’s level of stress )

Exercise reduces stress levels.

▪ stresses and strains (=a lot of different worries that are caused by something)

the stresses and strains of everyday life

▪ stress management

Some patients may benefit from being taught stress management skills.

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■ the feeling of being worried

▪ worry the feeling of not being happy or relaxed and thinking a lot about a problem or something that is wrong:

She was sick with worry over her daughter.


the look of worry on his face

▪ anxiety the feeling of being worried because you think that something bad has happened or will happen, and you feel that you have no control over the situation:

The thought of having to give a speech filled me with anxiety.


The increase in heating costs is causing a lot of anxiety among elderly people.

▪ concern a worried feeling – use this especially when many people are worried about a problem that affects everyone:

The shortage of water is beginning to cause widespread concern.

▪ stress the feeling of being worried all the time, for example about work or personal problems, which can make you ill or very tired:

Her financial problems were causing her a lot of stress.

▪ anguish a feeling of extreme mental suffering caused by worry:

How could her parents survive the anguish of not knowing what had happened to her?


When she spoke, her voice was full of anguish.

▪ angst a strong feeling of worry and anxiety because you are worried about your life, your future, or what you should do in a particular situation:

The letter was full of teenage angst - would she ever be able to find another boyfriend?


There was much angst about the decision.

II. stress 2 S3 W3 AC BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ stressed , ↑ stressful ; verb : ↑ stress ; noun : ↑ stress ]

1 . to emphasize a statement, fact, or idea

stress that

The report stressed that student math skills need to improve.

Crawford stressed the need for more housing downtown.

She stressed the importance of a balanced diet.

2 . to pronounce a word or part of a word so that it sounds louder or more forceful:

The word ‘machine’ is stressed on the second syllable.

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■ nouns

▪ stress the importance of something

He has always stressed the importance of a stable family.

▪ stress the need for something

She stressed the need for more effective policing.

▪ stress a point

This point needs to be stressed.

▪ stress a fact

Medicines usually stress the fact that you must not exceed the stated dose.

▪ stress the role of somebody/something

In her speech, she stressed the role of parents in preventing youth crime.

▪ stress your commitment to (doing) something

The President stressed his commitment to tackling world poverty.

• • •


▪ emphasize to say strongly or show clearly that a fact, idea etc is especially important:

Our company emphasizes the need for good communication between staff.

▪ stress to emphasize something when you are talking about a subject:

Most schools stress the importance of parental involvement in their child’s learning.


He stressed the need for parents to listen to their children.

▪ highlight to show that something is important, so that people will pay special attention to it:

This case highlights the need for tougher laws on gun ownership.


The report highlights the decline in the numbers of native plants and insects.

▪ underline/underscore to help to show clearly that a fact is true, especially a fact that is already known:

These attacks underline the fact that the security situation here remains fragile.


The president’s speech repeatedly underscored the progress that has been made.

▪ accentuate to show something clearly and make it easier to notice:

The recent economic crisis has accentuated the gap between the rich and the poor.

▪ overemphasize to emphasize something too much:

The relation between food and health is often overemphasized in my view.

▪ play up to emphasize something and make it seem more important than it really is, especially to get advantages for yourself:

The story has been played up by the media.


The Labour party had a great time playing up the Conservatives’ problems.

stress somebody out phrasal verb informal

to make someone so worried or nervous that they cannot relax:

Studying for exams always stresses me out.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.