Meaning of STRESS in English

I. ˈstres noun

( -es )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English stresse, short for distresse distress — more at distress

1. obsolete : distress 3b

2. chiefly dialect : distress 1


a. : a condition existing within an elastic material because of strain or deformation by external forces or by nonuniform thermal expansion and being expressed quantitatively always in units of force per unit area

b. : a physical, chemical, or emotional factor (as trauma, histamine, or fear) to which an individual fails to make a satisfactory adaptation, and which causes physiologic tensions that may be a contributory cause of disease

continued stress may result in gastric ulcer

cramps before a school examination may be a response to the stress of worry

stress diseases are hazards of modern life

— see adaptation syndrome


a. : the state or condition of strain and especially of intense strain : constraining force or influence : pressure

stress of circumstances

stress of weather

b. : a condition held to be similar to such a state of strain : emphasis , importance , significance , urgency , weight

lay stress on a particular argument

5. archaic : intense effort : strained activity or exertion toward the accomplishment of anything

pursue, with stress of mental faculties, a train of argument — Richard Polwhele

6. : intensity of utterance given to a speech sound, syllable, or word producing relative loudness as its acoustic correlate — compare accent ; primary , secondary , tertiary , weak


a. : relative force or prominence of sound in verse especially when due to intensity or energy of utterance : volume or loudness of sound

b. : a syllable having relative force or prominence : a strong syllable

8. : accent 6a, 6c

9. : the thickening of the stroke of a letter especially when curved


stress , strain , pressure , tension , shear , thrust , and torsion can apply in common to the action or effect of force exerted within or upon a thing. stress and strain , the comprehensive terms, can be interchangeable in the basic sense above, but stress is technically applied to the force exerted when one body, or a part of one, presses upon, pulls upon, pushes against, or tends to stress, compress, or twist another body or part of one, strain technically denoting the alteration in size or shape resulting from stress. pressure commonly applies to a weighing down upon or a pushing against a surface

the pressure of 3000 pounds upon the cement floor caused some cracking

the pressure of air in the tire was about 30 pounds per square inch

tension applies to the stress exerted and the strain effected by two forces pulling in opposite directions and causing or tending to cause extension

the tension of a violin string

the tension between an outward and a downward force

shear applies to a stress or strain occurring when a force in the plane of one area or section tends to cause it to slide upon a parallel plane or contiguous section

the estimated shear in a layer of rock was not enough to cause a landslide

thrust applies to the pressure exerted by one part or structure against another, especially when one member exerts a diagonal or horizontal outward thrust against the other

the thrust of a rafter against a supporting wall

torsion applies to the strain or the deformation produced by twisting, especially as displayed in a nonrigid body

the torsion of a wire filament exposed to magnetic force tending to twist it

the torsion strength of a metal column

II. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-es )

Etymology: Middle English stressen, partly by shortening from Middle English distresse distress & partly from Middle French estrecier to constrain, force, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin strictiare, from strictia constraint, force, stress, from Latin strictus, past participle of stringere to draw tight, press together — more at strain

1. archaic

a. : to subject to hardship, affliction, or oppression

b. : distress 3

2. : to subject to phonetic stress : accent

3. : to subject to physical stress

4. : to lay stress on : place emphasis on : make emphatic : emphasize

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.