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

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 The Hamilton County coroner says Plush died by asphyxia due to chest compression and now foul play is suspected. Cliff Pinckard,, "Investigators try to figure out what went wrong in Ohio teen's death in van," 13 Apr. 2018 Deliver two rescue breaths, then continue compressions. Cliff Kapono,, "Basic CPR and First aid procedures," 8 July 2018 Mazda’s next innovation took high compression to a new level. Blake Z. Rong, Popular Mechanics, "​​The Evolution of the Combustion Engine​​," 5 June 2018 Treatment for a heart attack – including chest compressions and defibrillation – should ideally begin four to eight minutes after the onset of symptoms, said Millin, medical director for Prince George’s County Fire/EMS. Rachel Chason,, "Here's what you should do if you think you're having a heart attack," 13 May 2018 The man swept in and continued the compressions until EMS arrived. Hanna Krueger,, "Uptown family reunited with 'angel' who saved father's life," 25 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

13 Sep 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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