verb (used with object), pres·sured, pres·sur·ing.

to force (someone) toward a particular end; influence: They pressured him into accepting the contract.

Origin of pressure

1350–1400; Middle English (noun) < Latin pressūra. See press1, -ure
Related formspres·sure·less, adjectivein·ter·pres·sure, adjectivenon·pres·sure, noun, adverbsu·per·pres·sure, noun, adjectiveun·der·pres·sure, nounun·pres·sured, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pressure

Contemporary Examples of pressure

Historical Examples of pressure

  • And considering the pressure of the necessary preparation for schools, the temptation to shun the byways is very great.

  • If the temperature is raised still higher, or the pressure is reduced, oxygen is given off and the oxide is once more formed.

  • Pressure was put upon the Highlanders to bring the negotiation to a conclusion.

  • It was she, surely, who had spoken first, when she begged to be released from his pressure.

    The Eustace Diamonds

    Anthony Trollope

  • The gauge is attached to the gas burner and the pressure is read by means of a scale attached to the gauge.

    General Science

    Bertha M. Clark

British Dictionary definitions for pressure



the state of pressing or being pressed
the exertion of force by one body on the surface of another
a moral force that compelsto bring pressure to bear
an urgent claim or demand or series of urgent claims or demandsto work under pressure
a burdensome condition that is hard to bearthe pressure of grief
the normal force applied to a unit area of a surface, usually measured in pascals (newtons per square metre), millibars, torr, or atmospheresSymbol: p, P


(tr) to constrain or compel, as by the application of moral force
another word for pressurize
Derived Formspressureless, adjective

Word Origin for pressure

C14: from Late Latin pressūra a pressing, from Latin premere to press
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 pressure

late 14c., "suffering, anguish; act or fact of pressing on the mind or heart," from Old French presseure "oppression; torture; anguish; press" (for wine or cheeses), "instrument of torture" (12c.) and directly from Latin pressura "action of pressing," from pressus, past participle of premere "to press" (see press (v.1)).

Literal meaning "act or fact of pressing" in a physical sense is attested from early 15c. Meaning "moral or mental coercing force" is from 1620s; meaning "urgency" is from 1812. Scientific sense in physics is from 1650s. Pressure cooker is attested from 1915; figurative sense is from 1958. Pressure point is attested from 1876. Pressure-treated, of woods, is from 1911.


"to pressurize," 1886, American English, from pressure (n.). Meaning "to exert pressure on" (someone) is attested by 1922. Related: Pressured; pressuring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for pressure




The act of pressing or condition of being pressed.
A stress or force acting in any direction against resistance.
Force applied uniformly over a surface, measured as force per unit of area.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for pressure



The force per unit area that one region of a gas, liquid, or solid exerts on another. Pressure is usually measured in Pascal units, atmospheres, or pounds per square inch.♦ A substance is said to have negative pressure if some other substance exerts more force per unit area on it than vice versa. Its value is simply the negative of the pressure exerted by the other substance.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for pressure


The force exerted on a given area. (See atmospheric pressure.)


The most familiar measure of pressure is psi (pounds per square inch), used to rate pressure in automobile and bicycle tires.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.