- to force (a person) into military or naval service.
- to coerce (a person) into taking a certain action, political stand, etc.: to be press-ganged into endorsing a candidate.
- a body of persons under the command of an officer, formerly employed to impress others for service, especially in the navy or army.
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
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.Chatterbox, 1905.
The press-gang had originally nothing to do with "pressing."The Romance of Words (4th ed.)
One or two of the press-gang, who had muskets, fired, but they were not good shots.From Powder Monkey to Admiral
- (formerly) a detachment of men used to press civilians for service in the navy or army
- to force (a person) to join the navy or army by a press gang
- to induce (a person) to perform a duty by forceful persuasionhis friends press-ganged him into joining the committee
Word Origin and History for press-gang
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper