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[uhn-strest] /ʌnˈstrɛst/
without stress or emphasis, as a syllable in a word.
not receiving or subjected to stress, wear, etc.:
the unstressed parts of a car body.
Origin of unstressed
1880-85; un-1 + stress + -ed2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unstressed
Historical Examples
  • The monosyllabic foot in which the unstressed element is missing offers no difficulty.

  • This rhythm is obtained by mingling stressed and unstressed syllables.

    Irradiations; Sand and Spray John Gould Fletcher
  • In Anglo-Saxon verse the combination of a primary stress, a secondary stress, and an unstressed syllable, is a recognized type.

    English Verse Raymond MacDonald Alden, Ph.D.
  • The number of unstressed syllables at the end of a line is not fixed.

  • The grouping of stressed and unstressed syllables determines the rhythm.

  • With dead load only the original section would be stressed to 2·3 tons per square inch, the new section being then unstressed.

    The Anatomy of Bridgework William Henry Thorpe
  • The guttural nasal disappeared in an unstressed syllable when preceded by an n in a stressed syllable in the course of the OHG.

  • His unstressed observation hit a bell in her head, and set it reverberating.

  • You use more force for the stressed than for the unstressed vowels, that is to say, you put more breath into them.

  • In very long words the due alternation of stressed and unstressed vowels was not easy to maintain.

British Dictionary definitions for unstressed


carrying relatively little stress; unemphasized
(phonetics) of, relating to, or denoting the weakest accent in a word or breath group, which in some languages, such as English or German, is also associated with a reduction in vowel quality to a centralized (i) or (a)
(prosody) (of a syllable in verse) having no stress or accent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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