n. & v.
n. 1 a the exertion of continuous force on or against a body by another in contact with it. b the force exerted. c the amount of this (expressed by the force on a unit area) (atmospheric pressure). 2 urgency; the need to meet a deadline etc. (work under pressure). 3 affliction or difficulty (under financial pressure). 4 constraining influence (if pressure is brought to bear).
v.tr. 1 apply (esp. moral) pressure to. 2 a coerce. b (often foll. by into) persuade (was pressured into attending). pressure-cook cook in a pressure-cooker. pressure-cooker an airtight pan for cooking quickly under steam pressure. pressure gauge a gauge showing the pressure of steam etc. pressure group a group or association formed to promote a particular interest or cause by influencing public policy. pressure point 1 a point where an artery can be pressed against a bone to inhibit bleeding. 2 a point on the skin sensitive to pressure. 3 a target for political pressure or influence. pressure suit an inflatable suit for flying at a high altitude.
[ ME f. L pressura (as PRESS(1)) ]