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press 1 (prĕs)
v. pressed, press·ing, press·es
a. To exert steady weight or force against: an indentation where the rock pressed the ground.
b. To move by applying pressure: press a piano key; press one's face into a pillow.
c. To squeeze or clasp in fondness or concern: pressed her hand before leaving.
a. To squeeze the juice or other contents from: press lemons.
b. To extract (juice, for example) by squeezing or compressing.
a. To reshape or make compact by applying steady force; compress: pressed the clay in a mold.
b. To iron (clothing, for example).
c. To make (a sound recording), originally by pressing (a vinyl phonograph record) under pressure in a mold.
a. To bear down on or attack: The army pressed the rebels for months.
b. To carry on or advance vigorously (an attack, for instance).
c. To place in trying or distressing circumstances: Are you pressed for money?
a. To insist upon or put forward insistently: press a claim; press an argument.
b. To try to influence or persuade, as by insistent arguments; pressure or entreat: He pressed her for a reply.
c. To insist that someone accept (something). Often used with on or upon: was given to pressing peculiar gifts upon his nieces.
6. Sports To lift (a weight) to a position above the head without moving the legs.
1. To exert force or pressure: felt the backpack pressing on her shoulders.
2. To be worrisome or depressing; weigh heavily: Guilt pressed upon his conscience.
a. To advance eagerly; move forward urgently: We pressed through the crowd to get to the bus.
b. To assemble closely and in large numbers; crowd: Fans pressed around the movie star.
4. To continue a course of action, especially in spite of difficulties: decided to press ahead with the performance even with a sore throat.
5. To require haste or urgent action: matters that have not stopped pressing.
6. To employ urgent persuasion or entreaty: The supervisor has been pressing to get us to finish the project sooner.
7. To iron clothes or other material.
8. Sports To raise or lift a weight in a press.
9. Basketball To employ a press.
10. Sports In golf, to try to hit long or risky shots, typically with unsuccessful results.
1. Any of various machines or devices that apply pressure: a cider press.
2. A printing press.
a. A place or establishment where matter is printed: sent the book's files to the press.
b. A publishing company: Which press has acquired that manuscript?
a. The communications media considered as a whole, especially the agencies that collect, publish, transmit, or broadcast news and other information to the public: freedom of the press; got a job writing for the press.
b. News or other information disseminated to the public in printed, broadcast, or electronic form: kept the scandal out of the press.
c. The people involved in the media, as news reporters and broadcasters: took questions from the press after her speech.
d. The kind or extent of coverage a person or event receives in the media: "Like the pool hall and the tattoo parlor, the motorcycle usually gets a bad press" (R.Z. Sheppard).
a. A large gathering; a crowd: lost our friend in the press of people.
b. The act of gathering in large numbers or of pushing forward: The press of the crowd broke the gates.
6. An act of pressing down or applying pressure: with the press of a button.
7. The haste or urgency of business or matters: the press of the day's events.
8. The set of proper creases in a garment or fabric, formed by ironing.
9. Chiefly Scots and Irish An upright closet or case used for storing clothing, books, or other articles.
10. Sports A lift in weightlifting in which the weight is raised to shoulder level and then steadily pushed straight overhead without movement of the legs.
11. Basketball An aggressive defense tactic in which players guard opponents closely, often over the entire court.
go to press
To be submitted for printing.
in press
Submitted for printing; in the process of being printed.
press charges
To bring a formal accusation of criminal wrongdoing against someone.
pressed for time
In a hurry; under time pressure.
press the flesh Informal
To shake hands and mingle with many people, especially while campaigning for public office.

[Middle English pressen, from Old French presser, from Latin pressāre, frequentative of premere, to press; see per-4 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
press 2 (prĕs)
tr.v. pressed, press·ing, press·es
1. To force into service in the army or navy; impress.
a. To take arbitrarily or by force, especially for public use.
b. To use in a manner different from the usual or intended, especially in an emergency.
1. Conscription or impressment into service, especially into the army or navy.
2. Obsolete An official warrant for impressing men into military service.

[Alteration of obsolete prest, to hire for military service by advance payment, from Middle English, enlistment money, loan, from Old French, from prester, to lend, from Medieval Latin praestāre, from Latin, to furnish, from praestō, present, at hand; see ghes- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.