v. squeezed, squeez·ing, squeez·es
a. To press hard on or together; compress: squeezed the balloon until it popped.
b. To press gently, as in affection: squeezed her hand.
c. To exert pressure on, as by way of extracting liquid: squeeze an orange.
a. To extract by applying pressure: squeeze juice from a lemon.
b. To extract or gain by intimidation or other pressure: squeezed information out of the suspect.
c. To pressure or intimidate (someone) to comply with a demand, as to make an extortion payment.
a. To obtain room for by pressure; cram: squeezed her clothes into the suitcase.
b. To manage to find time or space for: I asked if she might squeeze me into her busy schedule. Can we squeeze another chair in at your table?
4. Games To force (an opponent) to use a potentially winning card in a trick that that opponent cannot take in bridge.
a. To cause (a run or base runner) to score on a squeeze play.
b. To call as balls pitches thrown by (a pitcher) near the edges of the strike zone. Used of an umpire.
1. To give way under pressure: The rubber duck squeaks when it squeezes.
2. To exert pressure: squeezed until my hand hurt.
3. To force one's way: squeeze through a crowd; squeeze into a tight space.
a. The act or an instance of squeezing.
b. A handclasp or brief embrace.
2. An amount squeezed out: a squeeze of lemon.
3. A group crowded together; a crush.
4. Financial pressure caused by shortages or narrowing economic margins.
5. Pressure or intimidation to comply with a demand, as to make an extortion payment: thugs who put the squeeze on shopkeepers.
6. Games A forced discard of a potentially winning card in bridge.
7. Baseball A squeeze play.
8. Slang One's primary romantic partner or sweetheart.
To fire (a round of bullets) by squeezing the trigger.
squeeze through (or by)
To manage narrowly to pass, win, or survive.
[Probably alteration of obsolete quease, to press, from Middle English queisen, from Old English cwȳsan.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.