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

With so much industry pressure and so many customers trying to figure out how to shop a selfie, one solution may be for retailers to dip the toe of their party stilettos into renting. Washington Post, "The Future of Fashion Is a Rented Dress," 18 Sep. 2019 The thought originates from the deepest cavern of his divided self, the pressures that his refugee status exerts on his status as a director of images. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "“Midnight Traveler” Expands the Narrative of the Refugee Documentary," 17 Sep. 2019 Her defeat gives Goodman and his supporters an important boost and diminishes the pressure to bring a swift resolution to a standoff that has captivated Hollywood. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Trump’s coming to town. Here’s everything he’s ever tweeted about California," 17 Sep. 2019 But Pelosi has been unmoved by political pressure on her left flank, acting as a bulwark against the passions of partisans and the various political and legal arguments advanced by colleagues who favor impeachment. NBC News, "Pelosi gets squeezed on impeachment," 16 Sep. 2019 But authorities came under pressure to crack down, after tourists complained that they had been attacked by tigers while walking among them. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "Almost 150 tigers were rescued from a Thai temple. Now, over half are dead," 17 Sep. 2019 Planning for adequate water pressure has been a challenge because of the area’s relatively high elevation. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, "Manchester subdivision approved," 17 Sep. 2019 Instead, scientists and explorers typically rely on sound or pressure to measure depth, or both. Wired, "James Cameron, Victor Vescovo, and the Saga of the Deepest* Solo Dive Ever," 17 Sep. 2019 As the third quarter fundraising deadline approaches on Sept. 30, Harris faces pressure to haul in big numbers, especially after bringing in just $12 million in the last quarter. NBC News, "In the Big Apple, a big contrast between two campaigns," 17 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

D’Andrea asked if the city has any leverage to pressure the property owners to make improvements. Gloria Casas, Elgin Courier-News, "Duet Dance studio planning move to Elgin wins approval of city Planning and Zoning Commission," 6 June 2019 In response to Parisian meddling, Nissan has woken up to its own ability to pressure the French even with a smaller stake. Washington Post, "Maybe Carlos Ghosn Wasn’t So Bad After All," 18 Sep. 2019 The liberal advocacy group targeted him in a campaign to pressure safe incumbents sitting on a lot of cash to give it to candidates in tough races. BostonGlobe.com, "As the 2018 midterm elections approached, Democratic candidates around the country wanted Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III’s help.," 17 Sep. 2019 Some activists have begun to envision a campaign to pressure the banks. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "Money Is the Oxygen on Which the Fire of Global Warming Burns," 17 Sep. 2019 Overall, the Browns didn’t seem to consistently pressure Tennessee QB Marcus Mariota, who was 14-for-24 passing with three touchdowns and a 133.3 rating. Terry Pluto, cleveland.com, "From highly praised to hotly criticized — how will Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens respond?," 10 Sep. 2019 Washington also needs to recognize the role Pakistan has played in supporting the Taliban for decades, and continue to pressure the Pakistanis to encourage the insurgents to come to the bargaining table. James Stavridis, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Calling off peace talks was essential, but there’s still a path forward with the Taliban," 10 Sep. 2019 The president's tweet was his latest public effort to pressure the central bank to lower interest rates dramatically. CBS News, "Ex-Fed official says central bank should stop enabling Trump," 28 Aug. 2019 French and German leaders have also threatened not to ratify a trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur countries to pressure Brazil into complying with its environmental pledges within the Paris Climate Agreement. Fox News, "Brazilian environmental minister heckled over record Amazon fires: 'Stop Ecocide!'," 22 Aug. 2019

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

16 Oct 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

tired or exhausted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!