Etymology: Middle English stresse stress, distress, short for destresse — more at distress
Date: 14th century
1. constraining force or influence: as
a. a force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another body or body part; especially the intensity of this mutual force commonly expressed in pounds per square inch
b. the deformation caused in a body by such a force
c. a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation
d. a state resulting from a stress; especially one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium <job-related stress> e. strain, pressure <the environment is under stress to the point of collapse — Joseph Shoben> 2. emphasis, weight <lay stress on a point> 3. archaic intense effort or exertion 4. intensity of utterance given to a speech sound, syllable, or word producing relative loudness 5. a. relative force or prominence of sound in verse b. a syllable having relative force or prominence 6. accent 6a II. verb Date: 1545 transitive verb 1. to subject to physical or psychological stress <stressing the equipment> <this traffic is stressing me out> 2. to subject to phonetic stress ; accent 3. to lay stress on ; emphasize <stressed the importance of teamwork> intransitive verb to feel stress <stressing about the big exam> — often used with out
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.