1 a [noncount] : a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.
She uses meditation as a way of reducing/relieving stress.
Hormones are released into the body in response to emotional stress.
He needs help with stress management. [=ways to deal with stress]
1 b : something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety
I'm sorry for being grumpy. I've been under (a lot of) stress at work lately.
She is dealing with the stresses of working full-time and going to school.
He talked about the stresses and strains of owning a business.
2 : physical force or pressure
Carrying a heavy backpack around all day puts a lot of stress on your shoulders and back.
To reduce the amount of stress on your back, bend your knees when you lift something heavy.
The ship's mast snapped under the stress of high winds.
measuring the effects of stresses on the material
3 [noncount] : special importance or attention that is given to something
The teacher laid/put stress on [=emphasized] the need for good study habits.
4 : greater loudness or force given to a syllable of a word in speech or to a beat in music
Stress falls on the first syllable of the word “language.”
Stresses fall on different beats in different parts of the song.
The stress [=accent] is on the first syllable.