a. The act of pressing.
b. The condition of being pressed.
2. The application of continuous force by one body on another that it is touching; compression.
3. Abbr. P Physics Force applied over a surface, measured as force per unit area.
4. Meteorology Atmospheric pressure.
a. A compelling or constraining influence, such as persuasion or negative attitudes, on the mind or will: felt pressure to conform; peer-group pressure.
b. An influence acting as a source of distress or hardship: economic pressures forcing people to work two jobs.
c. Sports Sustained, effective play that puts an opponent at a disadvantage: Defensive pressure forced the quarterback to throw interceptions.
d. The condition of being subjected to physical, mental, social, or economic distress: doesn't work well under pressure.
6. A physical sensation produced by compression of a part of the body.
7. Archaic A mark made by application of force or weight; an impression.
tr.v. pres·sured, pres·sur·ing, pres·sures
1. To force or try to force, as by influence or persuasion: The salesman pressured us to buy the car right away.
2. To pressurize.
3. To pressure-cook.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin pressūra, from pressus, past participle of premere, to press; see per-4 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.