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90s Slang You Should Know


[pres-gang] /ˈprɛsˌgæŋ/
verb (used with object)
to force (a person) into military or naval service.
to coerce (a person) into taking a certain action, political stand, etc.:
to be press-ganged into endorsing a candidate.

press gang

or pressgang

a body of persons under the command of an officer, formerly employed to impress others for service, especially in the navy or army.
Origin of press gang
First recorded in 1685-95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for press-gang
Historical Examples
  • The Funds dropped sharply, and Pitt ordered an official denial to sinister reports of a forthcoming raid by the press-gang.

    William Pitt and the Great War John Holland Rose
  • "The press-gang's the best friend the Yankees has," said he a little sheepishly.

    The Frozen Pirate W. Clark Russell
  • His yell, however, and the noise of the scuffle, were heard by those of the press-gang who were nearest to the scene of conflict.

    The Lighthouse R.M. Ballantyne
  • I knew a press-gang was in the neighbourhood, but never thought of their coming our way.

  • The press-gang soon got possession of the likely mulatto for the service of his Britannic Majesty.

    Captain Canot Brantz Mayer
  • One or two of the press-gang, who had muskets, fired, but they were not good shots.

  • It was then in the middle of the American war, and a press-gang paid pretty frequent visits to the neighbouring sea-port town.

    The Rival Crusoes Agnes Strickland
  • What about the press-gang, Eben—do you think they will know you again?

    The Lost Middy George Manville Fenn
  • At London a third hand was lost, and Captain Johnston himself was seized by a press-gang.

    James Fenimore Cooper Mary E. Phillips
  • Because I was afraid they would think I had something to do with the press-gang coming.

    The Lost Middy George Manville Fenn
British Dictionary definitions for press-gang

press gang

(formerly) a detachment of men used to press civilians for service in the navy or army
verb (transitive)
to force (a person) to join the navy or army by a press gang
to induce (a person) to perform a duty by forceful persuasion: his friends press-ganged him into joining the committee
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for press-gang

1690s, from press (v.2) + gang (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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