pressure

noun
pres·​sure | \ ˈpre-shər How to pronounce pressure (audio) \

Definition of pressure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the burden of physical or mental distress
b : the constraint of circumstance : the weight of social or economic imposition
2 : the application of force to something by something else in direct contact with it : compression
3 archaic : impression, stamp
4a : the action of a force against an opposing force
b : the force or thrust exerted over a surface divided by its area
5 : the stress or urgency of matters demanding attention : exigency people who work well under pressure
6 : the force of selection that results from one or more agents and tends to reduce a population of organisms population pressure predation pressure
7 : the pressure exerted in every direction by the weight of the atmosphere
8 : a sensation aroused by moderate compression of a body part or surface

pressure

verb
pressured; pressuring\ ˈpre-​sh(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce pressuring (audio) \

Definition of pressure (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to apply pressure to
3 : to cook in a pressure cooker

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pressure

Noun

pressureless adjective

Examples of pressure in a Sentence

Noun

Apply pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding. the pressure of the compressed air inside the chamber The animal's jaws can exert a pressure of more than 750 pounds per square inch. The horse will respond to the slightest pressure of a rider's knee. The fruit yields to gentle pressure when it's ripe. the normal air pressure at sea level He gave in to the social pressures to act and dress like everybody else. She felt a constant pressure to earn more money.

Verb

his father pressured him to go out for the swim team
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The oil company is closer to sealing an arrangement with Anadarko Petroleum as rival Chevron bows out of the bidding battle, but mounting shareholder pressure against the company’s management shouldn’t be underestimated. Lauren Silva Laughlin, WSJ, "Occidental’s Battle Has Just Begun," 9 May 2019 Both Daenerys and Cersei are mad queens in their own right, so there's pressure to step up and claim the throne in order to keep the peace in Westeros. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Why Didn't Jon Snow Say Goodbye to Ghost the Direwolf on 'Game of Thrones'?," 8 May 2019 Each controller uses 87 sensors to track hand position, finger position, motion, and pressure to determine user intent. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Valve's $999 Index VR headset promises 'high-fidelity virtual reality' with revolutionary controls," 30 Apr. 2019 Guilfoyle explains that both of these things help during take-off and descent, as children may have difficulty equalizing their ear pressure and feel uncomfortable. Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "How To Survive a Long-Haul Flight With Kids, According to An Emirates Flight Attendant," 29 Apr. 2019 The pressure in the show is much different than in my real life. Caitlin Brody, Glamour, "Hulu's Ramy Is Going to Be Your Next TV Obsession," 20 Apr. 2019 The pressure was on to deliver something truly groundbreaking with the Tornado. Mark Smith, Popular Mechanics, "Why the Panavia Tornado Is Such a Badass Plane," 10 Apr. 2019 The pressure will definitely be there, but Kathie Lee hopes her parting words to Jenna will help relieve some of that stress. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Today' Star Kathie Lee Gifford on Leaving Hoda Kotb and a "Million Memories" Behind," 5 Apr. 2019 The astronauts on the ISS first discovered the hole in late August after flight controllers at NASA noticed that the air pressure was dropping, a sign that air was slowly leaking out of the station. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Russian cosmonauts are spacewalking to figure out the origin of a mysterious spacecraft hole," 11 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV settled a lawsuit brought by an Illinois dealership group that accused the auto maker of pressuring it to manipulate monthly vehicle sales reports. Adrienne Roberts, WSJ, "Fiat Chrysler Settles Dealer Lawsuit Over Sales Reporting," 5 Apr. 2019 Trump imposed the penalties over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. Joe Mcdonald, The Seattle Times, "US, China resume trade talks in Washington ahead of deadline," 19 Feb. 2019 Avoid agencies that pressure you into taking their courses. Danielle Fox, Seventeen, "Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Model?," 17 July 2018 Shultz, now 97, may have the most to answer for, as the Journal’s reporting revealed that after his grandson, Tyler, blew the whistle on Theranos, the former secretary of state repeatedly pressured him to keep quiet. Rebecca Robbins, STAT, "7 questions to watch after criminal charges filed in the Theranos saga," 18 June 2018 Administration officials have signaled support for imposing the tariffs in a dispute over allegations that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology, according to officials briefed on the plans. NBC News, "Trump approves tariffs on a potential $50 billion worth of China goods, official says," 15 June 2018 President Trump threw the status of the talks into doubt this week by renewing a threat to hike tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. CBS News, "Wilbur Ross in China for trade talks," 2 June 2018 Players who enjoy each other’s success and company are players not pressuring themselves to hit a 5-run homer. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Daugherty: Enjoy the impossible while it lasts, Cincinnati Reds fans," 24 June 2018 Donations to that fund help to pressure lawmakers to improve gun laws, educate the public about gun issues and mobilize grassroots supporters, according to the organization’s website. Skyler Swisher, Sun-Sentinel.com, "The NRA broke a fundraising record after Parkland. Will that sway elections?," 27 Apr. 2018

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

Noun

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

Verb

1938, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pressure

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin pressura, from Latin, action of pressing, pressure, from pressus, past participle of premere

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pressure

Statistics for pressure

Last Updated

15 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pressure

The first known use of pressure was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pressure

pressure

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pressure

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the weight or force that is produced when something presses or pushes against something else
: the action of pressing or pushing against something
: the weight of the air in the Earth's atmosphere

pressure

verb

English Language Learners Definition of pressure (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly US : to use pressure to force or try to force (someone) to do something

pressure

noun
pres·​sure | \ ˈpre-shər How to pronounce pressure (audio) \

Kids Definition of pressure

1 : the action of pushing steadily against
2 : a force or influence that cannot be avoided social pressure
3 : the force with which one body presses against another
4 : the need to get things done Mom works well under pressure.

pressure

noun
pres·​sure | \ ˈpresh-ər How to pronounce pressure (audio) \

Medical Definition of pressure

1 : the burden of mental or physical distress especially from grief, illness, or adversity
2 : the application of force to something by something else in direct contact with it : compression
3a : the action of a force against some opposing force : a force in the nature of a thrust distributed over a surface
b : the force or thrust exerted over a surface divided by the area of the surface
6 : a touch sensation aroused by moderate compression of the skin

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on pressure

What made you want to look up pressure? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

using a distributed computer network

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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