Meaning of PRESSURE in English

I. pres ‧ sure 1 S1 W1 /ˈpreʃə $ -ər/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ pressed , ↑ pressing , ↑ pressurized , ↑ pressured ; verb : ↑ press , ↑ pressure , ↑ pressurize ; noun : ↑ press , ↑ pressure , ↑ pressing ]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: pressura , from premere ; ⇨ ↑ press 2 ]

1 . PERSUADE [uncountable] an attempt to persuade someone by using influence, arguments, or threats:

They are putting pressure on people to vote yes.

be/come under pressure to do something

The minister was under pressure to resign.

be/come under pressure from somebody (to do something)

I was under pressure from my parents to become a teacher.

The Labour government came under pressure from the trade unions.

pressure for

Pressure for change has become urgent.

pressure on

the pressure on all of us to keep slim

He exerts pressure on his kids to get them to do as he wants.

You must never give in to pressure.

2 . ANXIETY/OVERWORK [uncountable and countable] a way of working or living that causes you a lot of anxiety, especially because you feel you have too many things to do

pressure of

I feel I’m not able to cope well with the pressures of life.

pressure on

The pressure on doctors is increasing steadily.

under pressure

I’m under constant pressure at work.

The pressures of work can make you ill.

a high pressure job

athletes who show grace under pressure (=who behave well when they are anxious)

3 . CAUSING CHANGE [uncountable and countable] events or conditions that cause changes and affect the way a situation develops, especially in ↑ economics or politics:

inflationary pressures

Analysts expect the pound to come under pressure.

relieve/reduce pressure (on somebody/something)

Slowing the arms race relieved pressure on the Soviet economic system.

The 1990s brought increased economic pressure to bear on all business activities.

4 . WEIGHT [uncountable] the force or weight that is being put on to something

pressure of

The pressure of the water turns the wheel.

the pressure of his hand on my arm

5 . GAS/LIQUID [uncountable and countable] the force produced by the quantity of gas or liquid in a place or container:

The gas containers burst at high pressure.

6 . WEATHER [uncountable and countable] a condition of the air in the Earth’s ↑ atmosphere , which affects the weather

high/low pressure

A ridge of high pressure is building up strongly over the Atlantic.

⇨ ↑ peer pressure

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■ verbs

▪ put pressure on somebody

We’ve decided to set up a campaign to put pressure on the Government.

▪ exert pressure on somebody formal (=put pressure on them)

They exerted pressure on their colleagues to vote for the change.

▪ bring pressure to bear on somebody (=put pressure on them)

These groups have brought pressure to bear on the government.

▪ put somebody under pressure (=put a lot of pressure on them)

They were put under pressure to sign confessions.

▪ be under pressure

Apple growers are under pressure from the public to use fewer chemicals.

▪ come under pressure

The new Prime Minister has already come under pressure from the opposition to call an election.

▪ bow to pressure ( also give in to pressure ) (=do what people want you to do)

He eventually gave in to pressure and resigned.

▪ respond to pressure (=do something as a result of pressure)

The government responded to this pressure and modified the Bill.

■ adjectives

▪ strong/intense pressure

There was strong pressure for a statement from the President.

▪ considerable pressure

Shopkeepers are under considerable pressure to work on Sundays.

▪ increasing/mounting pressure

There was increasing pressure on the Chancellor to cut petrol tax.

▪ public/popular pressure (=pressure from the public)

He faces mounting public pressure to resign.

▪ political pressure

We did not make this recommendation because of political pressure.

▪ diplomatic pressure (=pressure from other countries' governments)

The announcement of a ceasefire came after intense diplomatic pressure from the US.

II. pressure 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ pressed , ↑ pressing , ↑ pressurized , ↑ pressured ; verb : ↑ press , ↑ pressure , ↑ pressurize ; noun : ↑ press , ↑ pressure , ↑ pressing ]

especially American English to try to make someone do something by making them feel it is their duty to do it SYN pressurize British English

pressure somebody into doing something

You want to enjoy food, not to be pressured into eating the right things.

pressure somebody to do something

Don’t feel we are pressuring you to give what you can’t afford.

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▪ force to make someone do something they do not want to do. Used when people or situations make you do something:

They were beaten and forced to confess to crimes they had not committed.


The drought forced millions of farmers to sell their cattle.

▪ make to force someone to do something by using pressure, threats, or violence. Make somebody do something is more common than force somebody to do something in everyday English:

Her parents disapproved of Alex and they made her stop seeing him.


Two men with guns made the staff hand over the money.

▪ pressure ( also pressurize British English ) to try to force someone to do something by making them feel that they should do it:

Some employers pressure their staff into working very long hours.


She felt they were trying to pressurize her into getting married.

▪ blackmail to force someone to give you money or do what you want by threatening to tell embarrassing secrets about them:

She tried to blackmail him with photographs of them together at the hotel.

▪ compel [usually passive] formal to force someone to do something using official power or authority. Also used when someone has to do something because of their situation:

The town was surrounded and compelled to surrender.


I felt compelled to offer them some kind of explanation.


You are compelled by law to carry an ID card.

▪ coerce /kəʊˈɜːs $ ˈkoʊɜːrs/ formal to force someone to do something by threatening them:

Local people were coerced into joining the rebel army.

▪ be obliged to do something formal if someone is obliged to do something, they must do it because it is the law or the rule, or because of the situation they are in:

You are not obliged to say anything which may harm your defence in court.


They were obliged to sell the land.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.