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[presh-er] /ˈprɛʃ ər/
the exertion of force upon a surface by an object, fluid, etc., in contact with it:
the pressure of earth against a wall.
Physics. force per unit area. Symbol: P.
Compare stress (def 6).
Meteorology, atmospheric pressure.
Electricity, electromotive force.
the state of being pressed or compressed.
harassment; oppression:
the pressures of daily life.
a constraining or compelling force or influence:
the social pressures of city life; financial pressure.
urgency, as of affairs or business:
He works well under pressure.
Obsolete. that which is impressed.
verb (used with object), pressured, pressuring.
to force (someone) toward a particular end; influence:
They pressured him into accepting the contract.
1350-1400; Middle English (noun) < Latin pressūra. See press1, -ure
Related forms
pressureless, adjective
interpressure, adjective
nonpressure, noun, adverb
superpressure, noun, adjective
underpressure, noun
unpressured, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for pressure
  • The high gas concentration is thought to be because of the enormous weight and pressure of the continental ice cap.
  • Researchers says the link between obesity and more severe swine flu may be explained by physical pressure on the lungs.
  • But the majority of these apps merely make it easier for patients to record health measures, such as weight or blood pressure.
  • There is increasing pressure to be held accountable for outcomes.
  • There's also intense pressure for attention-getting headlines.
  • Keep pressure-pump applicators of different sizes on hand so you can easily prepare only the amount you need.
  • The human body has 108 pressure points.
  • If the leak appears to be in the lines between the filter and the pool, most experts will pressure-test them.
  • It is of course easy to increase the pressure exerted on the ice.
  • With all the pressure he has, how does he relax?
British Dictionary definitions for pressure


the state of pressing or being pressed
the exertion of force by one body on the surface of another
a moral force that compels to bring pressure to bear
an urgent claim or demand or series of urgent claims or demands to work under pressure
a burdensome condition that is hard to bear the pressure of grief
the normal force applied to a unit area of a surface, usually measured in pascals (newtons per square metre), millibars, torr, or atmospheres p, P
(transitive) to constrain or compel, as by the application of moral force
another word for pressurize
Derived Forms
pressureless, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin pressūra a pressing, from Latin premere to press
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pressure
1382, "act or fact of pressing on the mind or heart," from O.Fr. pressure (12c.), from L. pressura "action of pressing," from pressus, pp. of premere "to press" (see press (v.1)). Literal meaning "act or fact of pressing" in a physical sense is attested from 1601. Scientific sense in physics is from 1660. The verb meaning "to exert pressure on" is attested from 1939, Amer.Eng. Pressure cooker is attested from 1915; fig. sense is from 1958.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pressure in Medicine

pressure pres·sure (prěsh'ər)

  1. The act of pressing or condition of being pressed.

  2. A stress or force acting in any direction against resistance.

  3. Force applied uniformly over a surface, measured as force per unit of area.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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pressure in Science
The force per unit area that one region of a gas, liquid, or solid exerts on another. Pressure is usually measured in Pascal units, atmospheres, or pounds per square inch. ◇ A substance is said to have negative pressure if some other substance exerts more force per unit area on it than vice versa. Its value is simply the negative of the pressure exerted by the other substance.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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pressure in Culture

pressure definition

The force exerted on a given area. (See atmospheric pressure.)

Note: The most familiar measure of pressure is psi (pounds per square inch), used to rate pressure in automobile and bicycle tires.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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