noun (1)
\ ˈpres How to pronounce press (audio) \

Definition of press

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a crowd or crowded condition : throng
b : a thronging or crowding forward or together
2a : an apparatus or machine by which a substance is cut or shaped, an impression of a body is taken, a material is compressed, pressure is applied to a body, liquid is expressed, or a cutting tool is fed into the work by pressure
b : a building containing presses or a business using presses
4a : an action of pressing or pushing : pressure
b : an aggressive pressuring defense employed in basketball often over the entire court area
5 : the properly smoothed and creased condition of a freshly pressed garment out of press
b : the act or the process of printing
c : a printing or publishing establishment
7a : the gathering and publishing or broadcasting of news : journalism
b : newspapers, periodicals, and often radio and television news broadcasting
c : news reporters, publishers, and broadcasters
d : comment or notice in newspapers and periodicals is getting a good press
8 : any of various pressure devices (such as one for keeping sporting gear from warping when not in use)
9 : a lift in weight lifting in which the weight is raised to shoulder height and then smoothly extended overhead without assist from the legs — compare clean and jerk, snatch


verb (1)
pressed; pressing; presses

Definition of press (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to act upon through steady pushing or thrusting force exerted in contact : squeeze
3a : to squeeze out the juice or contents of
b : to squeeze with apparatus or instruments to a desired density, smoothness, or shape press [=iron] a shirt … the drained curds are generally pressed together into solid blocks of cheese.— Caroline Campion
4a : to exert influence on : constrain
b : to try hard to persuade : beseech, entreat
5 : to move by means of pressure
6a : to lay stress or emphasis on
b : to insist on or request urgently
7 : to follow through (a course of action)
8 : to clasp in affection or courtesy
9 : to make (a phonograph record) from a matrix (see matrix sense 2d) also : to make (another kind of disk, such as a CD) by a similar process

intransitive verb

1 : to crowd closely : mass
2 : to force or push one's way
3 : to seek urgently : contend
4 : to require haste or speed in action
5 : to exert pressure
6 : to take or hold a press
7 : to employ a press in basketball
press the flesh
: to greet and shake hands with people especially while campaigning for political office


verb (2)
pressed; pressing; presses

Definition of press (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to force into service especially in an army or navy : impress
2a : to take by authority especially for public use : commandeer
b : to take and force into any usually emergency service

intransitive verb

: to impress men as soldiers or sailors


noun (2)

Definition of press (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : impressment into service especially in a navy
2 obsolete : a warrant for impressing recruits

First Known Use of press

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Verb (2)

1578, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for press

Noun (1)

Middle English presse, from Anglo-French, from presser to press

Verb (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French presser, from Latin pressare, frequentative of premere to press; probably akin to Russian naperet' to press

Verb (2)

alteration of obsolete prest to enlist by giving pay in advance

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Time Traveler for press

Time Traveler

The first known use of press was in the 13th century

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Presque Isle



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Cite this Entry

“Press.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for press


\ ˈpres How to pronounce press (audio) \
pressed; pressing

Kids Definition of press

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to push steadily against Press the button.
2 : to ask or urge strongly I did not press her to explain.— Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved
3 : to move forward forcefully A crowd pressed toward the gate.
4 : to squeeze so as to force out the juice or contents press apples
5 : to flatten out or smooth by bearing down upon especially by ironing press clothes



Kids Definition of press (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : crowd entry 2 sense 1, throng He got caught in the press of holiday shoppers.
2 : a machine that uses pressure to shape, flatten, squeeze, or stamp
3 : the act of pressing : pressure the press of a button
4 : a printing or publishing business
5 : the newspapers and magazines of a country
6 : news reporters and broadcasters
8 : closet


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