[ verb kuhm-pres; noun kom-pres ]
See synonyms for: compresscompressedcompressing on

verb (used with object)
  1. to press together; force into less space.

  2. to cause to become a solid mass: to compress cotton into bales.

  1. to condense, shorten, or abbreviate: The book was compressed by 50 pages.

  2. Computers. to reduce the storage space required for (data) by changing its format: The algorithm should compress the video file without losing any quality.

  1. Medicine/Medical. a soft, cloth pad held in place by a bandage and used to provide pressure or to supply moisture, cold, heat, or medication.

  2. an apparatus for compressing cotton bales.

  1. a warehouse for storing cotton bales before shipment.

Origin of compress

1350–1400; (v.) Middle English (<Middle French compresser) <Late Latin compressāre, frequentative of Latin comprimere to squeeze together (see com-, press1); (noun) <Middle French compresse, noun derivative of the v.

synonym study For compress

1. See contract.

Other words for compress

Opposites for compress

Other words from compress

  • com·press·i·ble, adjective
  • com·press·i·bly, adverb
  • com·press·ing·ly, adverb
  • non·com·pres·si·ble, adjective
  • o·ver·com·press, verb (used with object)
  • pre·com·press, verb (used with object)
  • un·com·press·i·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use compress in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for compress


  1. (tr) to squeeze together or compact into less space; condense

  2. computing to apply a compression program to (electronic data) so that it takes up less space

  1. a wet or dry cloth or gauze pad with or without medication, applied firmly to some part of the body to relieve discomfort, reduce fever, drain a wound, etc

  2. a machine for packing material, esp cotton, under pressure

Origin of compress

C14: from Late Latin compressāre, from Latin comprimere, from premere to press

Derived forms of compress

  • compressible, adjective
  • compressibleness, noun
  • compressibly, adverb

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