Pronunciation: (stres), [key]
1. importance or significance attached to a thing; emphasis: to lay stress upon good manners.
2. Phonet.emphasis in the form of prominent relative loudness of a syllable or a word as a result of special effort in utterance.
3. Pros.accent or emphasis on syllables in a metrical pattern; beat.
4. emphasis in melody, rhythm, etc.; beat.
5. the physical pressure, pull, or other force exerted on one thing by another; strain.
a. the action on a body of any system of balanced forces whereby strain or deformation results.
b. the amount of stress, usually measured in pounds per square inch or in pascals.
c. a load, force, or system of forces producing a strain.
d. the internal resistance or reaction of an elastic body to the external forces applied to it.
e. the ratio of force to area.
7. Physiol.a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.
8. physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension: Worry over his job and his wife's health put him under a great stress.
9. a situation, occurrence, or factor causing this: The stress of being trapped in the elevator gave him a pounding headache.
10. Archaic.strong or straining exertion.
1. to lay stress on; emphasize.
2. Phonet.to pronounce (a syllable or a word) with prominent loudness: Stress the first syllable of “runner.” Stress the second word in “put up with.” Cf. accent (def. 18).
3. to subject to stress or strain.
4. Mech.to subject to stress.
a feminine equivalent of -ster: seamstress; songstress.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.