The application is tested against heavy load such as complex numerical values, large number of inputs, large number of queries etc. which checks for the stress/load the applications can withstand. Stress testing deals with the quality of the application in the environment.
The idea is to create an environment more demanding of the application than the application would experience under normal work loads. This is the hardest and most complex category of testing to accomplish and it requires a joint effort from all teams. A test environment is established with many testing stations. At each station, a script is exercising the system. These scripts are usually based on the regression suite. More and more stations are added, all simultaneous hammering on the system, until the system breaks. The system is repaired and the stress test is repeated until a level of stress is reached that is higher than expected to be present at a customer site.