v. & n.
v. 1 tr. apply steady force to (a thing in contact) (press a switch; pressed the two surfaces together). 2 tr. a compress or apply pressure to a thing to flatten, shape, or smooth it, as by ironing (got the curtains pressed). b squeeze (a fruit etc.) to extract its juice. c manufacture (a gramophone record etc.) by moulding under pressure. 3 tr. (foll. by out of, from, etc.) squeeze (juice etc.). 4 tr. embrace or caress by squeezing (pressed my hand). 5 intr. (foll. by on, against, etc.) exert pressure. 6 intr. be urgent; demand immediate action (time was pressing). 7 intr. (foll. by for) make an insistent demand. 8 intr. (foll. by up, round, etc.) form a crowd. 9 intr. (foll. by on, forward, etc.) hasten insistently. 10 tr. (often in passive) (of an enemy etc.) bear heavily on. 11 tr. (often foll. by for, or to + infin.) urge or entreat (pressed me to stay; pressed me for an answer). 12 tr. (foll. by on, upon) a put forward or urge (an opinion, claim, or course of action). b insist on the acceptance of (an offer, a gift, etc.). 13 tr. insist on (did not press the point). 14 intr. (foll. by on) produce a strong mental or moral impression; oppress; weigh heavily. 15 intr. Golf try too hard for a long shot etc. and so strike the ball imperfectly.
n. 1 the act or an instance of pressing (give it a slight press). 2 a a device for compressing, flattening, shaping, extracting juice, etc. (trouser press; flower press; wine press). b a machine that applies pressure to a workpiece by means of a tool, in order to punch shapes, bend it, etc. 3 = printing-press. 4 (prec. by the) a the art or practice of printing. b newspapers, journalists, etc., generally or collectively (read it in the press; pursued by the press). 5 a notice or piece of publicity in newspapers etc. (got a good press). 6 (Press) a a printing house or establishment. b a publishing company (Athlone Press). 7 a crowding. b a crowd (of people etc.). 8 the pressure of affairs. 9 esp. Ir. & Sc. a large usu. shelved cupboard for clothes, books, etc., esp. in a recess. at (or in) press (or the press) being printed. be pressed for have barely enough (time etc.). go (or send) to press go or send to be printed. press agent a person employed to attend to advertising and press publicity. press-box a reporters' enclosure esp. at a sports event. press the button 1 set machinery in motion. 2 colloq. take a decisive initial step. press-button adj. = push-button. press conference an interview given to journalists to make an announcement or answer questions. press gallery a gallery for reporters esp. in a legislative assembly. press-on (of a material) that can be pressed or ironed on. press release an official statement issued to newspapers for information. press-stud a small fastening device engaged by pressing its two halves together. press-up an exercise in which the prone downward-facing body is raised from the legs or trunk upwards by pressing down on the hands to straighten the arms.
[ ME f. OF presser, presse f. L pressare frequent. of premere press- ]