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 Give everyone another month to decompress and figure out rosters. Michael Rand, Star Tribune, "Starting the new NBA season so soon is absurd and reckless," 10 Nov. 2020 Typically, players and coaches use the bye week to decompress, visit family or take a quick vacation. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions bye week restrictions part of new normal in NFL: 'Totally sucks'," 8 Oct. 2020 Day four guests can decompress at the famed Blue Lagoon Retreat before heading home the next day. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "You Can Swim With Whales Under the Midnight Sun Thanks to This Epic New Tour in Iceland," 26 Sep. 2020 Once your home is your own personal paradise, check out our Ultimate Quarantine Self-Care Guide for more ways to decompress. Medea Giordano, Wired, "18 Labor Day Deals to Make Your Home an Oasis of Serenity," 6 Sep. 2020 And sometimes that’s a good thing just to decompress and get away from it. Doug Ferguson,, "Jon Rahm has 65 to catch up to Johnson at Tour Championship," 5 Sep. 2020 After shuttering The Grape last October, co-owner and sommelier Courtney Luscher took time off to decompress and enjoy time with family and friends. Tina Danze, Dallas News, "Former co-owner of The Grape launches new business for home wine drinkers," 3 Sep. 2020 But due to spacing requirements recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the city moved to decompress the crowded shelter by converting two sporting arenas into mass shelters. Paula Dobbyn, Anchorage Daily News, "New cases of COVID-19 detected at Brother Francis Shelter," 1 Sep. 2020 Olson finished her shift at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital — as it was called in 1976 — in central Chicago about 11 p.m. and headed out to meet co-workers for a drink and to decompress., "A nurse survived a brutal attack in a Chicago hospital parking lot. Decades later, she still feels the pain and trauma.," 19 Aug. 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

17 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Decompress.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 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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