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 Getting water pressure back doesn't end the crisis. Nicole Fallert, USA TODAY, 12 Sep. 2022 When people go long- prolonged periods of time without water pressure, and even longer periods of time without an ability to consume it. CBS News, 11 Sep. 2022 Water pressure in Jackson increased this week, but stored water is lower than ideal. Char Adams, NBC News, 10 Sep. 2022 The decision by the group came after a pressure campaign from Amalgamated, New York city and state officials, and California’s teachers’ pension fund. Martin Z. Braun, Fortune, 9 Sep. 2022 After three days closed, her daycare is now back open because water pressure has been restored. Fox News, 8 Sep. 2022 Residents lost access to water for roughly a week before water pressure was restored Monday. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 8 Sep. 2022 In concert with residents and community leaders, the coalition then mounted a public pressure campaign against the complex’s owner and encouraged residents to report their poor housing conditions., 8 Sep. 2022 Cloudflare held out for weeks as the pressure campaign raged on social media. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 8 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ceres says the fund will pressure companies to pay more attention to their impact on water quality and availability. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 7 Sep. 2022 The uncertainty sent one-year forward power prices in Germany 9.25% higher on the week to a record 351 EUR/Mwh, which will pressure manufacturing costs and economic growth. Garth Friesen, Forbes, 10 July 2022 But Ávila hopes the summit’s other participants will pressure the Biden administration to sanction Guatemalan officials who have links to organized crime and have looted the national treasury. Soudi Jiménez, Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2022 Ahmad al-Hamwi, whose brother died on the boat along with his two children, had one, plaintive demand: that religious leaders pressure the prime minister to do whatever was necessary to recover the victims. Washington Post, 6 May 2022 The Russia-Ukraine conflict will likely add to inflationary pressures due to higher energy prices, which analysts said could pressure the Fed to raise rates more aggressively than many on Wall Street previously expected. CBS News, 25 Feb. 2022 Thousands of former members of Afghanistan's military were forced to flee the country into Iran in the final days of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, raising fears that Tehran may pressure them to reveal sensitive U.S. military information and tactics. Michael Lee, Fox News, 16 Aug. 2022 Crisis pregnancy centers often disguise themselves as places where people can receive abortions in order to coerce and pressure them not to terminate their pregnancies, according to Planned Parenthood. Kalhan Rosenblatt, NBC News, 8 July 2022 During his testimony, Raffensperger debunked multiple claims of fraud that Trump used to pressure him. Anchorage Daily News, 21 June 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

14 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pressure.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 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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