1. the exertion of force upon a surface by an object, fluid, etc., in contact with it: the pressure of earth against a wall.
  2. Physics. force per unit area. Symbol: PCompare stress(def 6).
  3. Meteorology. atmospheric pressure.
  4. Electricity. electromotive force.
  5. the state of being pressed or compressed.
  6. harassment; oppression: the pressures of daily life.
  7. a constraining or compelling force or influence: the social pressures of city life; financial pressure.
  8. urgency, as of affairs or business: He works well under pressure.
  9. Obsolete. that which is impressed.

verb (used with object), pres·sured, pres·sur·ing.

  1. to force (someone) toward a particular end; influence: They pressured him into accepting the contract.
  2. pressurize.


  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 compelsto bring pressure to bear
  4. an urgent claim or demand or series of urgent claims or demandsto work under pressure
  5. a burdensome condition that is hard to bearthe pressure of grief
  6. the normal force applied to a unit area of a surface, usually measured in pascals (newtons per square metre), millibars, torr, or atmospheresSymbol: p, P
  7. short for atmospheric pressure, blood pressure


  1. (tr) to constrain or compel, as by the application of moral force
  2. another word for pressurize

n.late 14c., “suffering, anguish; act or fact of pressing on the mind or heart,” from Old French presseure “oppression; torture; anguish; press” (for wine or cheeses), “instrument of torture” (12c.) and directly from Latin pressura “action of pressing,” from pressus, past participle of premere “to press” (see press (v.1)). Literal meaning “act or fact of pressing” in a physical sense is attested from early 15c. Meaning “moral or mental coercing force” is from 1620s; meaning “urgency” is from 1812. Scientific sense in physics is from 1650s. Pressure cooker is attested from 1915; figurative sense is from 1958. Pressure point is attested from 1876. Pressure-treated, of woods, is from 1911. v.“to pressurize,” 1886, American English, from pressure (n.). Meaning “to exert pressure on” (someone) is attested by 1922. Related: Pressured; pressuring. n.

  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.

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

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