Date: 1300-1400
Language: Late Latin
Origin: compressare 'to press hard', from Latin comprimere 'to compress', from com- ( COM-) + premere 'to press'


1 verb
1 [intransitive and transitive] to press something or make it smaller so that it takes up less space, or to become smaller:
Light silk is best for parachutes, as it compresses well and then expands rapidly.
Isobel nodded, her lips compressed.
compress something into something
Snow falling on the mountainsides is compressed into ice.
The miners used rock drills and compressed air to drive through hard rock.
2TD [intransitive and transitive] to make a computer file smaller by using a special computer program, which makes the file easier to store or send, or to become smaller in this way:
The program compresses any data saved to the disk.
3 [transitive] to write or express something using fewer words [= condense]
compress something into something
In this chapter we compress into summary form the main issues discussed so far.
4 [transitive ] to reduce the amount of time that it takes for something to happen or be done
compress something into something
Many couples want to compress their childbearing into a short space of time in their married life.
compressible adjective
compression noun [uncountable]
data compression

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