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


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

Definition of pressure (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

Other Words from pressure


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 Firefighters also encountered significant water supply and water pressure issues at nearby hydrants, which hampered initial efforts, the statement said. Adam Sennott,, 7 Aug. 2022 The move also coincides with growing pressure from climate activists for insurers to do more to reduce carbon emissions. Leslie Scism, WSJ, 7 Aug. 2022 Refugees in Europe: The flow of people fleeing Ukraine has increased pressure across the region. New York Times, 6 Aug. 2022 Peer pressure can make this situation especially sticky. Chicago Tribune, 6 Aug. 2022 If Republicans gain only in the House, Biden won’t feel as much pressure to triangulate off the GOP Congress. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 6 Aug. 2022 Many of the most extreme bills, Fedor believes, have been written not by the legislators themselves but by local and national right-wing pressure groups, which can raise dark money and turn out primary voters in force. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 6 Aug. 2022 The tweets chronicled the ups and downs of Molly's care, including MRIs, blood transfusions and multiple surgeries to relieve pressure in her brain. Giovana Gelhoren, Peoplemag, 6 Aug. 2022 Mora, like most coaches, tries to simulate competitive pressure for his kickers with drills in practice, and Ruelas has been passing the tests. Dom Amore, Hartford Courant, 6 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers reading a journal entry during his testimony before the January 6th Committee about Donald Trump's efforts to pressure him to overturn the election results in his state. ABC News, 31 July 2022 Clark drafted a letter to officials in six states asking them to overturn the 2020 election results, and Eastman was the mastermind behind the scheme to pressure Pence to reject electors from states won by Biden in 2020. Chelsey Cox, USA TODAY, 27 July 2022 Short and Jacob also testified to the House Jan. 6 committee about how Trump and his allies tried to pressure Pence into blocking the certification of President Biden's 2020 election victory. Harold Maass, The Week, 26 July 2022 Donald Trump continued to pressure Mike Pence leading up to the Joint Session of Congress. Globe Staff,, 21 July 2022 Time will tell whether Samsung can accelerate the rate of foldable smartphone innovations without a real competitor to pressure it. Chris Smith, BGR, 21 July 2022 But first: Last week, the Jan. 6 committee made its case that frump tried to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election results. Mark Murray, NBC News, 20 June 2022 The committee said Trump called Pence personally to pressure him to act. Mark Hosenball, The New Republic, 13 June 2022 In a call that morning, Bannon urged Trump to continue to pressure Pence to block congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, according to people familiar with the exchange. Bob Woodward And Robert Costa, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of pressure


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


1938, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pressure


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

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Time Traveler for pressure

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

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Dictionary Entries Near pressure



pressure accumulator

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Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pressure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for pressure


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.


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

More from Merriam-Webster on pressure

Nglish: Translation of pressure for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pressure for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pressure


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