confined; restrained; not vented or expressed; curbed: pent-up emotions; pent-up rage.

Origin of pent-up

First recorded in 1705–15; adj. use of verb phrase pent up

Synonyms for pent-up

repressed, suppressed, bottled-up. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pent-up

Contemporary Examples of pent-up

  • Is it the Internet as an escape valve for decades of pent-up rebellion against political correctness?

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why Are Men So Angry?

    Kay Hymowitz

    February 28, 2011

  • All that pent-up uncertainty—a “bonus,” by definition, is discretionary—creates paranoia pretty much all year.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Europe's Got Balls

    Randall Lane

    July 8, 2010

  • Pent-up grievances fester, and the suppression of tribal and religious identity can lead to violence.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Obama's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech

    Barack Obama

    December 10, 2009

  • There is indeed pent-up energy and aggression, but much in the show is also funny and sweet.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Tim Burton's Twisted Art

    Kate Taylor

    November 19, 2009

  • Once he got his foppish foot in the door, he celebrated by unleashing the full majesty of his pent-up fashion exhibitionism.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Benjamin Disraeli: Dead Cool

    Simon Doonan

    September 30, 2009

Historical Examples of pent-up

British Dictionary definitions for pent-up


adjective (pent up when postpositive)

not released; repressedpent-up emotions
kept unwillinglyI've been pent up in this office for over a year
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