The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Stress \Stress\, n. [Abbrev. fr. distress; or cf. OF. estrecier
to press, pinch, (assumed) LL. strictiare, fr. L. strictus.
1. Distress. [Obs.]
Sad hersal of his heavy stress. --Spenser.
2. Pressure, strain; -- used chiefly of immaterial things;
except in mechanics; hence, urgency; importance; weight;
The faculties of the mind are improved by exercise,
yet they must not be put to a stress beyond their
A body may as well lay too little as too much stress
upon a dream. --L'Estrange.
3. (Mech. & Physics) The force, or combination of forces,
which produces a strain; force exerted in any direction or
manner between contiguous bodies, or parts of bodies, and
taking specific names according to its direction, or mode
of action, as thrust or pressure, pull or tension, shear
or tangential stress. --Rankine.
Stress is the mutual action between portions of
4. (Pron.) Force of utterance expended upon words or
syllables. Stress is in English the chief element in
accent and is one of the most important in emphasis. See
Guide to pronunciation, [sect][sect] 31-35.
5. (Scots Law) Distress; the act of distraining; also, the
Stress of voice, unusual exertion of the voice.
Stress of weather, constraint imposed by continued bad
weather; as, to be driven back to port by stress of
To lay stress upon, to attach great importance to; to
emphasize. "Consider how great a stress is laid upon this
To put stress upon, or To put to a stress, to strain.