View synonyms for pent-up


[ pent-uhp ]


  1. not vented or expressed; held inside; restrained; curbed:

    pent-up emotions;

    pent-up rage.

    Synonyms: suppressed, repressed, confined



  1. not released; repressed

    pent-up emotions

  2. kept unwillingly

    I've been pent up in this office for over a year

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Word History and Origins

Origin of pent-up1

First recorded in 1705–15; adjective use of verb phrase pent up
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Example Sentences

In doing so he exposed the failure of other airlines in the region to see the huge pent-up demand for cheap travel.

Many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations are boiling inside the Negro, and he must release them.

Perhaps so much so that he aroused whatever cruelty and anger and lunacy that Hernandez may have had pent up.

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

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

Perhaps the words let loose the emotion, though of different kinds, pent up behind their silence.

It was when one of the table-legs overturned the swill-pail that the long pent-up storm burst in a torrent of invective.

Instead, therefore, of receiving her former lover with dangerous pent-up fires, Lilian now feels pity for him.

At last his pent-up affections gave way, and he sought his chamber and wept there in secret.

Another moment and he was in her arms, silent, speechless, with long arrears of pent-up emotion.


Related Words

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More About Pent-up

What does pent-up mean?

Pent-up is used to describe something that is repressed or not expressed, such as feelings, as in Tina had a lot of pent-up anger over her parents’ divorce that she did not know how to express.

Pent-up also describes something that has not been vented, like a gas, which causes pressure to build, as in Tremors release pent-up energy beneath the earth’s crust.

Example: All this pent-up anger is bad for your mental health.

Where does pent-up come from?

The first records of the term pent-up come from the early 1700s. It combines the adjective pent, meaning “contained or confined,” and the term up.

Usually, pent-up refers to emotional pressure or mental confinement. It comes from literal uses, such as describing pent-up gasses, liquids, or substances that might burst from their confinement. For example, if too much water is let into a dam’s well, the pent-up water can cause damage unless it is let out the other side.

Pent-up usually refers to negative emotions such as sadness or rage because people often avoid dealing with those feelings, so they stay with us. Connected to this figurative use of pent-up is the term vent. Pressure can literally be released using a vent, while figuratively, emotions can be released by venting, that is, sharing them with other people or otherwise expressing them.

Did you know … ?

What are some synonyms for pent-up?

What are some words that share a root or word element with pent-up

What are some words that often get used in discussing pent-up?

How is pent-up used in real life?  

Pent-up is usually associated with negative emotions or negative results from pressure buildup.



Try using pent-up!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for pent-up?

A. repressed
B. released
C. stifled
D. suppressed