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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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 The stories are virtuosic in their selective detail and compression, their scenic arrangement and voice. Thomas Mallon, WSJ, "‘The Dakota Winters’ Review: Uptown in the ’80s," 30 Nov. 2018 The canvas is vast, Eastern Europe over the course of 15 tumultuous years during the Cold War, and the narrative compression is remarkable—two lives driven by passion, and evoked in 88 minutes. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "The Best Film of 2018: Love in Many Forms," 17 Dec. 2018 The vault’s actual shape was created with a special rhinoVAULT plug-in that allows the library’s arched shape to rely on pure compression. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "You can walk on the roof of this sloping brick library in India," 21 Sep. 2018 Serena responded by wearing a tutu and compression fishnets. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Racist, Sexist History of Tennis," 18 Sep. 2018 At the French Open, Williams wore a Nike catsuit that was eventually banned from the dress code, despite being a compression garment to help with blood clots. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Serena Williams Calls Out the U.S. Open For Sexism During Women’s Final," 8 Sep. 2018 Several Twitter users pointed out that this pair could be compression tights—a type of footwear she's worn numerous times in the past to prevent blood clots. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Serena Williams Wore a Lavender Tutu and Fishnets to Win Her Second U.S. Open Match," 30 Aug. 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.

See More

First Known Use of compression

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about compression

Share compression

Statistics for compression

Last Updated

15 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for compression

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to corrupt or become corrupted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A Green Quiz

  • shamrock
  • What is the best definition of green-eyed monster?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!