press gang

or pressgang


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



[ 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.

press gang


  1. (formerly) a detachment of men used to press civilians for service in the navy or army


  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 persuasion

    his friends press-ganged him into joining the committee

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Word History and Origins

Origin of press gang1

First recorded in 1685–95

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Example Sentences

In this particular fight several men were killed and wounded, and the press-gang thought it best to let the Eliza alone.

None foresaw that the day would come when a British press gang would seize free citizens in this same harbor.

Moritz of Dessau had a terrible Winter of it, organizing and breaking in these Saxon people,—got by press-gang in this way.

Sennit was then on his way to Barbadoes, however, nor do I believe your master of a press-gang ever does much before an enemy.

In the time of the press-gang a crowd was seen approaching some cottages.


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