OTHER WORDS FROM decompressde·com·pres·sive, adjective
Words nearby decompress
What does decompress mean?
Decompress means to release or reduce pressure.
This literal meaning of decompress can be used in several contexts. Divers who’ve spent time in deep water decompress by coming up slowly. Divers and other underwater workers sometimes decompress by using a decompression chamber. The goal of these processes is to return the body to normal atmospheric pressure in order to avoid decompression sickness.
In a medical context, to decompress is to release pressure in the body, such as from inside the skull through surgery.
Decompress can also be used in a figurative way meaning to relax or unwind. This sense of the word likens stress to pressure within the body that needs to be released. A close synonym is destress. An even more informal way of saying this is blow off steam.
In all senses of the word, the process of decompressing is called decompression.
Example: Yoga really helps me to decompress after a stressful day at work.
Where does decompress come from?
The first records of decompress come from the early 1900s. Its root word, the verb compress, means “to press together.” The prefix de- means “removal” or “reversal.” So, to decompress is to remove pressure.
For divers, decompressing can be the difference between life and death. The figurative sense of decompressing might not be quite as critical, but it’s still important. This kind of decompression can be done after any type of stressful situation, but it’s most often applied to what people do to switch off work mode. Sometimes, a day at work is like a day spent in deep water, with more and more pressure (stress) building up as the day goes on. Even after you finally resurface, you might still feel that pressure unless you find a way to release it. Different people decompress in different ways. For some people, their commute home is like a decompression chamber, where they can decompress by listening to music or a podcast. Others might decompress by exercising, meditating, reading, watching TV, playing video games, getting a massage, or spending time with friends. The best way to decompress is the way that works.
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How is decompress used in real life?
Since most people don’t literally work underwater, decompress is most commonly used in a figurative way in the context of stress relief.
Fisherman pulled up a diver for being in his fishing spot w/o giving her time to decompress, faces battery charges: http://t.co/0jUw0lH3
— Outside Magazine (@outsidemagazine) July 3, 2012
I've had enough of today. Time to read and decompress….💚
— Aιɱҽҽ Kαɾყɳ (@Nautigirl4life) April 16, 2020
Sorry I disappeared to do art and decompress. I’m feeling a bit better. 💖
— Evit-SANNN-EEeehhhh 🤷♂️ (@Evit_cani) April 17, 2020
Try using decompress!
Is decompress used correctly in the following sentence?
Some people decompress by being active, and others decompress by doing as little as possible.
How to use decompress in a sentence
Many EMTs are on duty in 24-hour shifts, but before the pandemic, there were plenty of opportunities at the station to nap, decompress or console one another about harrowing calls.
Certain facilities at NASA and elsewhere can simulate what a decompressed chamber feels like for people in spacesuits.This is how (almost) anyone can train to be an astronaut|Neel Patel|March 24, 2021|MIT Technology Review
Rituals can be a great way to mentally prepare for the day ahead or decompress and unwind.Exclusive: Harry’s Labs takes a skin care approach to hair care with new brand Headquarters|Rachel King|January 25, 2021|Fortune
Having some breaks where they all can get outside and connect with nature or do things to decompress are important.
A daily run gave her the time to decompress and focus on something besides treating patients.
Everyone was dazed by their look at death, but relieved by the opportunity to decompress.
He was talking about places that give a neighborhood its stability and coherence, where we can see familiar faces and decompress.
He cited the waste of oxygen which resulted by having to decompress Bandit every time someone left or entered the ship.First on the Moon|Jeff Sutton