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

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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World English Dictionary
pressure (ˈprɛʃə)
1.  the state of pressing or being pressed
2.  the exertion of force by one body on the surface of another
3.  a moral force that compels: to bring pressure to bear
4.  an urgent claim or demand or series of urgent claims or demands: to work under pressure
5.  a burdensome condition that is hard to bear: the pressure of grief
6.  p, P the normal force applied to a unit area of a surface, usually measured in pascals (newtons per square metre), millibars, torr, or atmospheres
7.  atmospheric pressure short for blood pressure
8.  (tr) to constrain or compel, as by the application of moral force
9.  another word for pressurize
[C14: from Late Latin pressūra a pressing, from Latin premere to press]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

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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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
pressure   (prěsh'ər)  Pronunciation Key 
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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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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Example sentences
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.
Keep pressure-pump applicators of different sizes on hand so you can easily
  prepare only the amount you need.
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