pressure

noun
pres·​sure | \ˈpre-shər \

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

c : electromotive force

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 \

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 Trump administration’s idea of North Korean diplomacy has been to ratchet up pressure on Kim with sanctions and a shadow campaign within the CIA to enforce it, especially on the high seas. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Doesn’t Want a No-Fly Zone Over the Korean DMZ. Here’s Why.," 18 Oct. 2018 Global business leaders also are reassessing their ties with Saudi Arabia, stoking pressure on the Gulf kingdom to explain what happened to Khashoggi. Fox News, "Newspaper says Turkey has audio of Saudi writer's slaying," 14 Oct. 2018 But Kepler's handlers figured out a way to stabilize the spacecraft using the remaining wheels and sunlight pressure, and Kepler soon embarked on an extended mission called K2. Mike Wall, Space.com, "NASA's Kepler Planet-Hunting Space Telescope Wakes Up Again," 13 Oct. 2018 Lock the lid and cook on high pressure (12.0) 8 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Savory Bread Pudding," 16 Aug. 2018 But not everyone is experiencing pressure from the global trade disputes. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How Trump’s tariffs are affecting the furniture industry," 7 Aug. 2018 There are several methods of cold pasteurization, but high-pressure processing (HPP) is the one most commonly associated with fresh juices. Rebecca Straus, Good Housekeeping, "4 Beverages You Should Never Drink Past the Expiration Date," 26 July 2018 By putting pressure on drug makers, Trump may force other companies, like PBMs, to react, according to Dusetzina, the Vanderbilt professor. Erin Mershon, STAT, "What Pfizer, Trump, and consumers got out of a surprising deal — and what they didn’t," 11 July 2018 The large number of people working in the cave have inadvertently put more pressure on the effort: the more people inside, the more oxygen within the cave system being used. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Ex-SEAL Diver Dies in Thai Cave Rescue Attempt," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

He recently was seen again with Matthew Lewis pressuring him to leave House Gryffindor for Slytherin. Nicole Weaver, Teen Vogue, "Emma Watson and Tom Felton Held a "Harry Potter" Reunion," 8 Nov. 2018 The sanctions are part of the U.S. economic campaign against Iran to pressure it from engaging in aggression in the region and violating human rights. Deb Riechmann, The Seattle Times, "US targets network backing Iran’s use of child soldiers," 16 Oct. 2018 Yes, kids are in the picture, but don’t pressure her about it. Alison Edmond, Glamour, "Yes, Mandy Moore is Nice—But 'There's More to Who I Am'," 9 Oct. 2018 Some of President Trump’s toughest talk toward America’s NATO partners has been aimed at pressuring them to increase their own defense spending, also a goal of previous administrations. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, "US-Europe ties and the audacity of July 1948," 9 July 2018 Trump advisors including Kellyanne Conway over the weekend echoed Trump’s assignment of blame to Democrats, as part of the effort to pressure them for legislative concessions. Noah Bierman, latimes.com, "Backlash builds against Trump's policy splitting families at border, as he falsely blames Democrats," 18 June 2018 Edmunson said Barker pressured him to resign over a personnel matter, a claim Barker denies, and Edmunson later rescinded his resignation. Christina Lords, idahostatesman, "An Idaho school superintendent wouldn’t resign, so this person paid him $400,000 to leave | Idaho Statesman," 30 Apr. 2018 Therein, Jordan states members of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office harassed and threatened him and his family in order to pressure him into testifying against Miller. Colin Stutz, Billboard, "Second Witness Says Detectives 'Tricked' Him Into Identifying C-Murder in Nightclub Shooting," 6 July 2018 In April, the city filed a lawsuit against Airbnb and two other home-sharing sites, pressuring them to remove any listings that didn’t have a number signifying an official registration. Jessi Hempel, WIRED, "Airbnb's Newest Weapon Against Regulation: The Real Estate Industry," 3 July 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

13 Nov 2018

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)

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

pressure

noun
pres·​sure | \ˈpre-shər \

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 \

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

a private place of worship

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!