com·​pres·​sion | \ kəm-ˈpre-shən How to pronounce compression (audio) \

Definition of compression

1a : the act, process, or result of compressing
b : the state of being compressed
2 : the process of compressing the fuel mixture in a cylinder of an internal combustion engine (as in an automobile)
3 : the compressed remains of a fossil plant
4 : conversion (as of data, a data file, or a communications signal) in order to reduce the space occupied or bandwidth required

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Other Words from compression

compressional \ kəm-​ˈpresh-​nəl How to pronounce compressional (audio) , -​ˈpre-​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of compression in a Sentence

the compression of a long, complicated story into a two-hour movie is never easy

Recent Examples on the Web

And active recovery like foam rolling, compression, and stretching are perfectly acceptable components of a wellness routine. Melissa Malamut, Glamour, "Expensive Exercise Recovery Classes Are Taking Over Fitness Studios—but Are They Worth It?," 3 May 2019 Its pleasures are those of compression, the way each of the 33 shows is conjured with a vignette that includes two or more emblematic garments, buttressed by symbolic accessories and imagery. Laura Jacobs, WSJ, "‘Exhibitionism: 50 Years of The Museum at FIT’ Review: Fashion History Hits the Runway," 12 Feb. 2019 Some of the general space savings come from more efficient compression for states saved with the Snapshots feature. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Parallels Desktop 14 is available now for Mac, and it includes Mojave support," 21 Aug. 2018 The infrastructure team of European private-equity firm EQT is banking on growing U.S. oil-and-gas production with its acquisition of Kodiak Gas Services LLC, a provider of compression equipment and services to the energy industry. Luis Garcia, WSJ, "EQT Buys Gas-Compression Company From Stephens Group," 11 Feb. 2019 Your best bet would be either compression gear or anything relatively formfitting. Isadora Baum, SELF, "10 Things to Know Before Taking Your First Indoor Rowing Class," 27 Jan. 2019 Now, ahead of the new year, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is clarifying the rules surrounding female players' wardrobes, including compression pieces like Williams' now-famous French Open catsuit. Ana Colón, Glamour, "Women’s Tennis Association Revises Rules for 2019—and Allows Serena Williams to Wear Her Catsuit," 13 Dec. 2018 There's also an optional 2-liter, turbocharged, variable-compression engine that gets 248 horsepower and serves as the replacement for the 6-cylinder. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "See the brand-new Nissan Altima: Redesigned mid-size car revealed at New York Auto Show," 28 Mar. 2018 Alas, the jock strap has been replaced in most cases by compression shorts these days. Bill Livingston,, "Who's more obnoxious than Indiana Pacers' Lance Stephenson? -- Bill Livingston (photos)," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'compression.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of compression

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for compression

Last Updated

10 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compression

The first known use of compression was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for compression


com·​pres·​sion | \ kəm-ˈpre-shən How to pronounce compression (audio) \

Kids Definition of compression

: the act, process, or result of pressing something together


com·​pres·​sion | \ kəm-ˈpresh-ən How to pronounce compression (audio) \

Medical Definition of compression

: the act, process, or result of compressing especially when involving a compressing force on a bodily part compression of an artery by forceps compression of the brain by the bones of a depressed fracture

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Comments on compression

What made you want to look up compression? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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