Definition of press verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//pres//
    ; NAmE NAmE//pres//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they press
    BrE BrE//pres//
    ; NAmE NAmE//pres//
    he / she / it presses
    BrE BrE//ˈpresɪz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈpresɪz//
    past simple pressed
    BrE BrE//prest//
    ; NAmE NAmE//prest//
    past participle pressed
    BrE BrE//prest//
    ; NAmE NAmE//prest//
    -ing form pressing
    BrE BrE//ˈpresɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈpresɪŋ//
    Preparing food, How machines work
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  1. 1  [transitive, intransitive] to push something closely and firmly against something; to be pushed in this way press something/somebody/yourself against something She pressed her face against the window. press something to something He pressed a handkerchief to his nose. press something together She pressed her lips together. press against something His body was pressing against hers.
  2. 2  [transitive, intransitive] to push or squeeze part of a device, etc. in order to make it work press something to press a button/switch/key press something + adj. He pressed the lid firmly shut. (+ adv./prep.) Press here to open. She pressed down hard on the gas pedal. See related entries: How machines work
  3. 3[transitive] press something into/onto something to put something in a place by pushing it firmly He pressed a coin into her hand and moved on.
  4. 4[transitive] press something to squeeze somebody’s hand or arm, especially as a sign of affection
  5. 5[intransitive] + adv./prep. (of people in a crowd) to move in the direction mentioned by pushing The photographers pressed around the royal visitors. (figurative) A host of unwelcome thoughts were pressing in on him.
  6. try to persuade
  7. 6[transitive] to make strong efforts to persuade or force somebody to do something synonym push, urge press somebody If pressed, he will admit that he knew about the affair. press somebody for something The bank is pressing us for repayment of the loan. press somebody to do something They are pressing us to make a quick decision. press somebody into something/into doing something Don't let yourself be pressed into doing something you don't like.
  8. point/claim/case
  9. 7[transitive] press something to express or repeat something with force I don't want to press the point, but you do owe me $200. She is still pressing her claim for compensation. They were determined to press their case at the highest level.
  10. make flat/smooth
  11. 8[transitive] to make something flat or smooth by using force or putting something heavy on top press something pressed flowers (= pressed between the pages of a book) press something + adj. Press the soil flat with the back of a spade.
  12. 9[transitive] press something to make clothes smooth using a hot iron synonym iron My suit needs pressing.
  13. fruit/vegetables
  14. 10[transitive] press something to squeeze the juice out of fruit or vegetables by using force or weight See related entries: Preparing food
  15. metal
  16. 11[transitive] to make something from a material, using pressure press something to press a CD press something from/out of something The car bodies are pressed out of sheets of metal.
  17. Word Originverb Middle English: from Old French presse (noun), presser (verb), from Latin pressare ‘keep pressing’, frequentative of premere. press somebody/​something into service. late 16th cent.: alteration (by association with press, verb) of obsolete prest ‘pay given on enlistment, enlistment by such payment’, from Old French prest ‘loan, advance pay’, based on Latin praestare ‘provide’.Extra examples ‘Are you sure?’ she pressed gently. Bella pressed her face into the pillow. He pressed a finger gently to her lips. He pressed up closer against the wall, terrified of being seen. Her lips softly pressed my cheek. I did not press him further on the issue. In the interview he strongly pressed his point of view. She curled up, her knees pressed tightly to her chest. She pressed on the doorbell. The crowd pressed forward. The party will continue to press the case for a new electoral system. The weather was dreadful but we pressed on regardless. They pressed boldly on with their plan. his immaculately pressed suit Even when I pressed them on this point they refused to commit themselves. He pressed a coin into her hand. He was pressed into giving her a job. I pressed hard on the doorbell. If pressed, he will admit that he knew about the affair. Only press the buzzer if you have the right answer. Press any key to restart your computer. Press the button marked ‘Stop’. Pressed by the opposition to resign, he stood firm. She pressed a finger into the dough. The Farmers’ Union is pressing the government to pay compensation. We will continue to press the government to provide details of the agreement. When pressed by journalists, he refused to comment.Idioms
    bring/press/prefer charges against somebody
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    (law) to accuse somebody formally of a crime so that there can be a trial in court See related entries: The police
    (informal) (of a famous person or politician) to say hello to people by shaking hands to get as much advantage as possible from a situation by attacking or arguing in a determined way to press home an attack/an argument/a point Simon saw she was hesitating and pressed home his advantage.
    press somebody/something into service
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    to use somebody/something for a purpose that they were not trained or intended for because there is nobody or nothing else available Every type of boat was pressed into service to rescue passengers from the sinking ferry.
    press/push the panic button
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    to react in a sudden or extreme way to something unexpected that has frightened you The prime minister pressed the panic button yesterday as Britain’s economy plunged deeper into crisis.
    push all the (right) buttons (also press all the (right) buttons especially in British English)
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    (informal) to do exactly the right things to please somebody a new satirical comedy show that pushes all the right buttons
    Phrasal Verbspress for somethingpress onpress something on somebody
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: press