[dee-kuh m-presh-uh n]


the gradual reduction in atmospheric pressure experienced by divers, construction workers, etc., after working in deep water or breathing compressed air.
the act or process of releasing from pressure.
Surgery. the procedure of relieving increased cranial, cardiac, or orbital pressure.
a state of relief from pressure; a return to normalcy after a stressful period or situation.
Computers. the restoration of data that has undergone compression to its original state.

Origin of decompression

1900–05; probably < French décompression. See de-, compression Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for decompression

Contemporary Examples of decompression

Historical Examples of decompression

  • With Tom, it was only a matter of decompression and he soon was up and about.

  • If the skull fracture happened in a uremic, the decompression would probably do no harm.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension:

    Louis Marshall Warfield

  • Going deeper would mean stopping for decompression on the way up.

    The Wailing Octopus

    Harold Leland Goodwin

  • The carburetor flushes his blood with oxygen, the decompression tank adjusts him to the lack of air-pressure.


    John Holbrook Vance

  • Thank heavens, he was taken to the decompression chamber instead of the police station!

    Signal in the Dark

    Mildred A. Wirt

Word Origin and History for decompression

1905, from de- + compression.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

decompression in Medicine




The relief of pressure on a body part by surgery.
The restoration of deep-sea divers and caisson workers to atmospheric pressure by means of a decompression chamber.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.