de·​com·​press | \ ˌdē-kəm-ˈpres How to pronounce decompress (audio) \
decompressed; decompressing; decompresses

Definition of decompress

transitive verb

1 : to release from pressure or compression
2 : to convert (something, such as a compressed file or signal) to an expanded or original size

intransitive verb

: to undergo release from pressure especially : relax need a week off to decompress

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Other Words from decompress

decompression \ ˌdē-​kəm-​ˈpre-​shən How to pronounce decompression (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for decompress



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Examples of decompress in a Sentence

Once pressure was released, the vertebrae decompressed. The file must be decompressed before it can be read.
Recent Examples on the Web Given the state of the world and the news, sometimes that's the only thing that can decompress your brain a bit before going to sleep. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Quarantine Diary: Lin-Manuel Miranda is relying on tortillas and getting toddler kicks to the eye," 1 July 2020 This tempest, one of the largest debris avalanches in recorded history, permitted the vast bulge of gloopy, gassy magma to explosively decompress. Robin George Andrews, New York Times, "The Mount St. Helens Eruption Was the Volcanic Warning We Needed," 18 May 2020 Try to decompress from jobs and build yourself back up. Washington Post, "Taylor Kitsch plays a bad guy with nuance and special skills," 26 Nov. 2019 The purpose of this list is to cheer people up, especially during a time when people really can’t go out and decompress. NBC News, "16 great LGBTQ movies to stream during self-isolation," 23 Mar. 2020 What seemingly nonessential rituals (such as watching your favorite TV show) used to help you decompress? New York Times, "Is That Mom in the Mirror Really Me?," 16 Apr. 2020 Instead of poring over laptops, people in the back of an old-school café in Montreal’s Mile End are reading, chatting, and decompressing from a busy week. Tracey Lindeman, Fortune, "Montreal’s empty storefront problem is a lesson to every city," 5 Mar. 2020 When a wave passes through the machine, the floats on the device move up and down, compressing and decompressing the pistons. Rebecca Hale, National Geographic, "Waves are generating power—just one of many signs of hope for our planet," 25 Mar. 2020 It's been about decompressing and resting my mind a little bit and resting my body and spending time with the people who have supported me over the last six months. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Tom Brady setting no timetable for 2020 decision: 'It's really not my concern at this point'," 13 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decompress.' 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 decompress

1905, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for decompress

Time Traveler

The first known use of decompress was in 1905

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Statistics for decompress

Last Updated

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decompress.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce decompress (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of decompress

: to release or reduce the physical pressure on something or to have the physical pressure released or reduced
computers : to change (a computer file that has been made smaller) back to its original size by using special software
US, informal : to rest and relax


transitive verb
de·​com·​press | \ ˌdē-kəm-ˈpres How to pronounce decompress (audio) \

Medical Definition of decompress

: to release from pressure or compression

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with decompress

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