Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

press-gang

[pres-gang]
verb (used with object)
  1. to force (a person) into military or naval service.
  2. to coerce (a person) into taking a certain action, political stand, etc.: to be press-ganged into endorsing a candidate.
Show More

press gang

or press·gang

noun
  1. a body of persons under the command of an officer, formerly employed to impress others for service, especially in the navy or army.
Show More

Origin of press gang

First recorded in 1685–95
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for press-gang

Historical Examples of press-gang

  • The press-gang was soon on board us, and its officer asked to have the crew mustered.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • "The press-gang's the best friend the Yankees has," said he a little sheepishly.

    The Frozen Pirate

    W. Clark Russell

  • I knew a press-gang was in the neighbourhood, but never thought of their coming our way.

  • The press-gang had originally nothing to do with "pressing."

  • One or two of the press-gang, who had muskets, fired, but they were not good shots.


British Dictionary definitions for press-gang

press gang

noun
  1. (formerly) a detachment of men used to press civilians for service in the navy or army
Show More
verb press-gang (tr)
  1. to force (a person) to join the navy or army by a press gang
  2. to induce (a person) to perform a duty by forceful persuasionhis friends press-ganged him into joining the committee
Show More
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

Word Origin and History for press-gang

n.

1690s, from press (v.2) + gang (n.).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper