verb (used with object)

  1. to act upon with steadily applied weight or force.
  2. to move by weight or force in a certain direction or into a certain position: The crowd pressed him into a corner.
  3. to compress or squeeze, as to alter in shape or size: He pressed the clay into a ball.
  4. to weigh heavily upon; subject to pressure.
  5. to hold closely, as in an embrace; clasp: He pressed her in his arms.
  6. to flatten or make smooth, especially by ironing: to press clothes; to press flowers in the leaves of a book.
  7. to extract juice, sugar, etc., from by pressure: to press grapes.
  8. to squeeze out or express, as juice: to press the juice from grapes.
  9. to beset or harass; afflict: He was pressed by problems on all sides.
  10. to trouble or oppress; put into a difficult position, as by depriving: Poverty pressed them hard.
  11. to urge or entreat strongly or insistently: to press for payment of a debt; to press for an answer.
  12. to emphasize or propound forcefully; insist upon: He pressed his own ideas on us.
  13. to plead with insistence: to press a claim.
  14. to urge onward; hasten: He pressed his horse to go faster.
  15. to push forward.

verb (used without object)

  1. to manufacture (phonograph records, videodiscs, or the like), especially by stamping from a mold or matrix.
  2. to exert weight, force, or pressure.
  3. Weightlifting. to raise or lift, especially a specified amount of weight, in a press.
  4. to iron clothing, curtains, etc.
  5. to bear heavily, as upon the mind.
  6. (of athletes and competitors) to perform tensely or overanxiously, as when one feels pressured or is determined to break out of a slump; strain because of frustration: For days he hasn’t seemed able to buy a hit, and he’s been pressing.
  7. to compel haste: Time presses.
  8. to demand immediate attention.
  9. to use urgent entreaty: to press for an answer.
  10. to push forward or advance with force, eagerness, or haste: The army pressed to reach the river by dawn.
  11. to crowd or throng.
  12. Basketball. to employ a press.


  1. an act of pressing; pressure.
  2. the state of being pressed.
  3. printed publications collectively, especially newspapers and periodicals.
  4. all the media and agencies that print, broadcast, or gather and transmit news, including newspapers, newsmagazines, radio and television news bureaus, and wire services.
  5. the editorial employees, taken collectively, of these media and agencies.
  6. (often used with a plural verb) a group of news reporters, or of news reporters and news photographers: The press are in the outer office, waiting for a statement.
  7. the consensus of the general critical commentary or the amount of coverage accorded a person, thing, or event, especially in newspapers and periodicals (often preceded by good or bad): The play received a good press. The minister’s visit got a bad press.
  8. printing press.
  9. an establishment for printing books, magazines, etc.
  10. the process or art of printing.
  11. any of various devices or machines for exerting pressure, stamping, or crushing.
  12. a wooden or metal viselike device for preventing a tennis or other racket from warping when not in use.
  13. a pressing or pushing forward.
  14. a crowding, thronging, or pressing together; collective force: The press of the crowd drove them on.
  15. a crowd, throng, or multitude.
  16. the desired smooth or creased effect caused by ironing or pressing: His suit was out of press.
  17. pressure or urgency, as of affairs or business.
  18. an upright case or other piece of furniture for holding clothes, books, pamphlets, etc.
  19. Basketball. an aggressive form of defense in which players guard opponents very closely.
  20. Weightlifting. a lift in which the barbell, after having been lifted from the ground up to chest level, is pushed to a position overhead with the arms extended straight up, without moving the legs or feet.

  1. go to press, to begin being printed: The last edition has gone to press.
  2. press the flesh, Informal. flesh(def 24).


  1. to apply or exert weight, force, or steady pressure onhe pressed the button on the camera
  2. (tr) to squeeze or compress so as to alter in shape or form
  3. to apply heat or pressure to (clothing) so as to smooth out or mark with creases; iron
  4. to make (objects) from soft material by pressing with a mould, form, etc, esp to make gramophone records from plastic
  5. (tr) to hold tightly or clasp, as in an embrace
  6. (tr) to extract or force out (juice) by pressure (from)
  7. (tr) weightlifting to lift (a weight) successfully with a presshe managed to press 280 pounds
  8. (tr) to force, constrain, or compel
  9. to importune or entreat (a person) insistently; urgethey pressed for an answer
  10. to harass or cause harassment
  11. (tr) to plead or put forward strongly or importunatelyto press a claim
  12. (intr) to be urgent
  13. (tr; usually passive) to have little ofwe’re hard pressed for time
  14. (when intr, often foll by on or forward) to hasten or advance or cause to hasten or advance in a forceful manner
  15. (intr) to crowd; throng; push
  16. (tr) (formerly) to put to death or subject to torture by placing heavy weights upon
  17. (tr) archaic to trouble or oppress
  18. press charges to bring charges against a person


  1. any machine that exerts pressure to form, shape, or cut materials or to extract liquids, compress solids, or hold components together while an adhesive joint is formed
  2. See printing press
  3. the art or process of printing
  4. at the press or in the press being printed
  5. to press or to the press to be printedwhen is this book going to press?
  6. the press
    1. news media and agencies collectively, esp newspapers
    2. (as modifier)a press matter; press relations
  7. the press those who work in the news media, esp newspaper reporters and photographers
  8. the opinions and reviews in the newspapers, etcthe play received a poor press
  9. the act of pressing or state of being pressed
  10. the act of crowding, thronging, or pushing together
  11. a closely packed throng of people; crowd; multitude
  12. urgency or hurry in business affairs
  13. a cupboard, esp a large one used for storing clothes or linen
  14. a wood or metal clamp or vice to prevent tennis rackets, etc, from warping when not in use
  15. weightlifting a lift in which the weight is raised to shoulder level and then above the head

verb (tr)

  1. to recruit (men) by forcible measures for military service
  2. to use for a purpose other than intended, (esp in the phrase press into service)


  1. recruitment into military service by forcible measures, as by a press gang

c.1300, presse, “crowd, throng, company; crowding and jostling of a throng; a massing together,” from Old French presse (n.) “throng, crush, crowd; wine or cheese press” (11c.), from Latin pressare (see press (v.1)). Late Old English had press “clothes press.”

Meaning “device for pressing cloth” is from late 14c., as is also the sense “device to squeeze juice from grapes, oil from olives, cider from apples, etc.,” from Middle French presse. Specific sense “machine for printing” is from 1530s; this was extended to publishing houses by 1570s and to publishing generally (in phrases like freedom of the press) from c.1680. This gradually shifted c.1800-1820 to “periodical publishing, journalism.” The press, meaning “journalists collectively” is attested from 1921 (though superseded by media since the rise of television, etc.).

Press agent is from 1873; press conference is attested from 1931, though the thing itself dates to at least World War I. Press secretary is recorded from 1940. Via the sense “crowd, throng,” Middle English in press meant “in public,” a coincidental parallel to the modern phrase in the press. Weightlifting sense is from 1908. The basketball defense so called from 1959 (in full-court press).


“push against,” early 14c., “to clasp, embrace;” mid-14c. “to squeeze out;” also “to cluster, gather in a crowd;” late 14c., “to press against, exert pressure,” also “assault, assail;” also “forge ahead, push one’s way, move forward,” from Old French presser “squeeze, press upon; torture” (13c.), from Latin pressare “to press,” frequentative formation from pressus, past participle of premere “to press, hold fast, cover, crowd, compress,” from PIE *per- (4) “to strike.” Related: Pressed; pressing. Figurative sense is from late 14c. Meaning “to urge, argue for” is from 1590s.


“force into service,” 1570s, alteration (by association with press (v.1)) of prest (mid-14c.) “engage by loan, pay in advance,” especially money paid to a soldier or sailor on enlisting, from Latin praestare “to stand out, stand before; fulfill, perform, provide,” from prae- “before” (see pre-) + stare “to stand,” from PIE root *sta- “to stand” (see stet). Related to praesto (adv.) “ready, available.” Related: Pressed; pressing.

In addition to the idioms beginning with press

  • pressed for time
  • press into service
  • press on
  • press one’s luck
  • press the flesh

also see:

  • hard pressed
  • hot off the press
  • push (press) one’s luck
  • push (press) someone’s buttons

Also see underpush.

52 queries 0.584