[ pres ]
See synonyms for press on
verb (used with object)
  1. to act upon with steadily applied weight or force.

  2. to move by weight or force in a certain direction or into a certain position: The crowd pressed him into a corner.

  1. to compress or squeeze, as to alter in shape or size: He pressed the clay into a ball.

  2. to weigh heavily upon; subject to pressure.

  3. to hold closely, as in an embrace; clasp: He pressed her in his arms.

  4. to flatten or make smooth, especially by ironing: to press clothes;to press flowers in the leaves of a book.

  5. to extract juice, sugar, etc., from by pressure: to press grapes.

  6. to squeeze out or express, as juice: to press the juice from grapes.

  7. to beset or harass; afflict: He was pressed by problems on all sides.

  8. to trouble or oppress; put into a difficult position, as by depriving: Poverty pressed them hard.

  9. to urge or entreat strongly or insistently: He pressed his parents to take him along. The interviewer pressed her for an explanation.

  10. to emphasize or propound forcefully; insist upon: He pressed his own ideas on us.

  11. to plead or pursue with insistence: The union’s shop steward pressed a complaint on the employee’s behalf.

  12. to urge onward; hasten: He pressed his horse to go faster.

  13. to push forward.

verb (used without object)
  1. to manufacture (phonograph records, videodiscs, or the like), especially by stamping from a mold or matrix.

  2. to exert weight, force, or pressure.

  1. Weightlifting. to raise or lift, especially a specified amount of weight, in a press.

  2. to iron clothing, curtains, etc.

  3. to bear heavily, as upon the mind.

  4. (of athletes and competitors) to perform tensely or overanxiously, as when one feels pressured or is determined to break out of a slump; strain because of frustration: For days he hasn't seemed able to buy a hit, and he's been pressing.

  5. to compel haste: Time presses.

  6. to demand immediate attention.

  7. to use urgent entreaty: to press for an answer.

  8. to push forward or advance with force, eagerness, or haste: The army pressed to reach the river by dawn.

  9. to crowd or throng.

  10. Basketball. to employ a press.

  1. an act of pressing; pressure.

  2. the state of being pressed.

  1. printed publications collectively, especially newspapers and periodicals.

  2. all the media and agencies that print, broadcast, or gather and transmit news, including newspapers, newsmagazines, radio and television news bureaus, and wire services.

  3. the editorial employees, taken collectively, of these media and agencies.

  4. (often used with a plural verb) a group of news reporters, or of news reporters and news photographers: The press are in the outer office, waiting for a statement.

  5. the consensus of the general critical commentary or the amount of coverage accorded a person, thing, or event, especially in newspapers and periodicals (often preceded by good or bad): The play received a good press.The minister's visit got a bad press.

  6. an establishment for printing books, magazines, etc.

  7. the process or art of printing.

  8. any of various devices or machines for exerting pressure, stamping, or crushing.

  9. a wooden or metal viselike device for preventing a tennis or other racket from warping when not in use.

  10. a pressing or pushing forward.

  11. a crowding, thronging, or pressing together; collective force: The press of the crowd drove them on.

  12. a crowd, throng, or multitude.

  13. the desired smooth or creased effect caused by ironing or pressing: His suit was out of press.

  14. pressure or urgency, as of affairs or business.

  15. an upright case or other piece of furniture for holding clothes, books, pamphlets, etc.

  16. Basketball. an aggressive form of defense in which players guard opponents very closely.

  17. Weightlifting. a lift in which the barbell, after having been lifted from the ground up to chest level, is pushed to a position overhead with the arms extended straight up, without moving the legs or feet.

Idioms about press

  1. go to press, to begin being printed: The last edition has gone to press.

  2. press charges. See entry at press charges.

  1. press the flesh, Informal. flesh (def. 24).

Origin of press

First recorded in 1175–1225; Middle English noun press(e), pres(e) “throng, company, trouble, machine for pressing, clothespress,” from Old French presse, prese, derivative of presser “to press,” from Latin pressāre, frequentative of premere (past participle pressus ) “to press” (compare rare Old English press “clothespress,” from Medieval Latin pressa, noun use of feminine of pressus); Middle English verb pressen, pres(se), from Old French pres(s)er, from Latin pressāre, as above

Other words for press

Other words from press

  • press·a·ble, adjective

Other definitions for press (2 of 3)

[ pres ]

verb (used with object)
  1. to force into service, especially naval or military service; impress.

  2. to make use of in a manner different from that intended or desired: French taxis were pressed into service as troop transports.

  1. impressment into service, especially naval or military service.

Origin of press

First recorded in 1535–45; back formation from prest, past participle of obsolete prest “to take (men) for military service,” verb use of prest2 (in the sense “enlistment money”)

Other definitions for Press (3 of 3)

[ pres ]

  1. a male given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use press in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for press (1 of 2)


/ (prɛs) /

  1. to apply or exert weight, force, or steady pressure on: he pressed the button on the camera

  2. (tr) to squeeze or compress so as to alter in shape or form

  1. to apply heat or pressure to (clothing) so as to smooth out or mark with creases; iron

  2. to make (objects) from soft material by pressing with a mould, form, etc, esp to make gramophone records from plastic

  3. (tr) to hold tightly or clasp, as in an embrace

  4. (tr) to extract or force out (juice) by pressure (from)

  5. (tr) weightlifting to lift (a weight) successfully with a press: he managed to press 280 pounds

  6. (tr) to force, constrain, or compel

  7. to importune or entreat (a person) insistently; urge: they pressed for an answer

  8. to harass or cause harassment

  9. (tr) to plead or put forward strongly or importunately: to press a claim

  10. (intr) to be urgent

  11. (tr; usually passive) to have little of: we're hard pressed for time

  12. (when intr, often foll by on or forward) to hasten or advance or cause to hasten or advance in a forceful manner

  13. (intr) to crowd; throng; push

  14. (tr) (formerly) to put to death or subject to torture by placing heavy weights upon

  15. (tr) archaic to trouble or oppress

  16. press charges to bring charges against a person

  1. any machine that exerts pressure to form, shape, or cut materials or to extract liquids, compress solids, or hold components together while an adhesive joint is formed

  1. the art or process of printing

  2. at the press or in the press being printed

  3. to press or to the press to be printed: when is this book going to press?

  4. the press

    • news media and agencies collectively, esp newspapers

    • (as modifier): a press matter; press relations

  5. the press those who work in the news media, esp newspaper reporters and photographers

  6. the opinions and reviews in the newspapers, etc: the play received a poor press

  7. the act of pressing or state of being pressed

  8. the act of crowding, thronging, or pushing together

  9. a closely packed throng of people; crowd; multitude

  10. urgency or hurry in business affairs

  11. a cupboard, esp a large one used for storing clothes or linen

  12. a wood or metal clamp or vice to prevent tennis rackets, etc, from warping when not in use

  13. weightlifting a lift in which the weight is raised to shoulder level and then above the head

Origin of press

C14 pressen, from Old French presser, from Latin pressāre, from premere to press

British Dictionary definitions for press (2 of 2)


/ (prɛs) /

  1. to recruit (men) by forcible measures for military service

  2. to use for a purpose other than intended, (esp in the phrase press into service)

  1. recruitment into military service by forcible measures, as by a press gang

Origin of press

C16: back formation from prest to recruit soldiers; see prest ²; also influenced by press 1

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with press


In addition to the idioms beginning with press

  • pressed for time
  • press into service
  • press on
  • press one's luck
  • press the flesh

also see:

  • hard pressed
  • hot off the press
  • push (press) one's luck
  • push (press) someone's buttons

Also see underpush.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.