com·​pres·​sion | \kəm-ˈpre-shən \

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 , -​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

After giving birth to daughter Olympia last September, Williams dealt with issues including blood clots, and she's been wearing compression leggings this fortnight as a precaution. Howard Fendrich, Fox News, "Serena Williams nears 8th Wimbledon title, 24th Slam overall," 13 July 2018 NuCalm: $65 for 30 minutes; CVAC: $45 for 20 minutes; air compression: $30 for 30 minutes; infrared sauna, $45 for 30 minutes. Marisa Meltzer, New York Times, "How to Recover Like an Elite Athlete," 9 July 2018 And the compression of brain and nerve tissue was clearly visible in this scan. Lisa Sanders, M.d., New York Times, "Why Was Her Vision Jerky and Blurry if There Was Nothing Wrong With Her Eyes?," 1 May 2018 For the record, for over twenty years all car manufacturers have madehigh-compression engines that get their best mileage using the highest octane fuel. star-telegram, "Gasoline: Pump Us Up?," 28 Apr. 2018 The turbo four is the company’s variable-compression 2.0-liter, just introduced in the Infiniti QX50. Joe Lorio, Car and Driver, "2019 Nissan Altima: New Engines and All-Wheel Drive," 29 Mar. 2018 Paramedics rushed to Carey’s side and began performing chest compressions before putting him in an ambulance. Fox News, "Teen dies after Chicago paramedics allegedly mistakenly pronounce him dead, cover him with white sheet," 20 June 2018 This approach achieves a level of compression that's close to the theoretical maximum. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Inventor says Google is patenting work he put in the public domain," 10 June 2018 Sometimes the compression of natural and denatured, earnest and superficial generates a curious, compelling friction. Leah Ollman,, "Glitz, glamor, shine and sparkle: the dazzling photomontages of Fay Ray," 24 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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Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

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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 \

Kids Definition of compression

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


com·​pres·​sion | \kəm-ˈpresh-ən \

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

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by force of circumstances

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