Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To press together: compressed her lips.
  • transitive v. To make more compact by or as if by pressing.
  • transitive v. Computer Science To transform (data) to minimize the space required for storage or transmission: compressed the file so that it could be downloaded efficiently.
  • n. Medicine A soft pad of gauze or other material applied with pressure to a part of the body to control hemorrhage or to supply heat, cold, moisture, or medication to alleviate pain or reduce infection.
  • n. A machine for compressing material.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A multiply folded piece of cloth, a pouch of ice etc., used to apply to a patient's skin, cover the dressing of wounds, and placed with the aid of a bandage to apply pressure on an injury.
  • n. A machine for compressing
  • v. To make smaller; to press or squeeze together, or to make something occupy a smaller space or volume.
  • v. To be pressed together or folded by compression into a more economic, easier format.
  • v. To condense into a more economic, easier format.
  • v. To abridge.
  • v. (transitive) To make digital information smaller by encoding it using fewer bits.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A folded piece of cloth, pledget of lint, etc., used to cover the dressing of wounds, and so placed as, by the aid of a bandage, to make due pressure on any part.
  • transitive v. To press or squeeze together; to force into a narrower compass; to reduce the volume of by pressure; to compact; to condense.
  • transitive v. To embrace sexually.
  • transitive v. to reduce the space required for storage (of binary data) by an algorithm which converts the data to a smaller number of bits while preserving the information content. The compressed data is usually decompressed to recover the initial data format before subsequent use.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To press or pack together; force or drive into a smaller compass or closer relation; condense.
  • To embrace sexually.
  • Synonyms To crowd, squeeze.
  • n. In surgery, a soft mass formed of tow, lint, or soft linen cloth, so contrived as by the aid of a bandage to make due pressure on any part.
  • n. In hydropathic practice, a wet cloth applied to the surface of a diseased part, and covered with a layer or bandage of dry cloth or oiled cloth.
  • n. An apparatus in which bales of cotton, etc., are pressed into the smallest possible compass for stowage.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make more compact by or as if by pressing
  • v. squeeze or press together
  • n. a cloth pad or dressing (with or without medication) applied firmly to some part of the body (to relieve discomfort or reduce fever)

Etymologies

Middle English compressen, from Old French compresser, from Late Latin compress─üre, frequentative of Latin comprimere : com-, com- + premere, to press; see per-4 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French compressen, from Late Latin compressare 'to press hard/together', from compressus, the past participle of comprimere 'to compress', itself from com- 'together' + premere 'to press' (Wiktionary)
From Middle French compresse, from compresser 'to compress', from Late Latin compressare 'to press hard/together', from compressus, the past participle of comprimere 'to compress', itself from com- 'together' + premere 'to press' (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • For your herbal enlightenment, the cloth dipped into the strained-tea infusion is called a compress; with the steeped flowers, it becomes a poultice.

    Gentle Healing for Baby and Child

  • Instead, soak a compress in vinegar and press (don't rub) it against the sting.

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  • Because high-def signals are exceedingly more plump than standard TV signals and hog the capacity of their pipelines, cable - and satellite-TV operators "compress," or squeeze, them (broadcasters don't have to).

    Prick Up Your Rabbit Ears

  • I often notice wheelchair-users in photographs trying to "compress" themselves and look invisible--getting other people to stand in front of them, around them, etc.

    Updated: ADAPT action in Chicago

  • But it's really -- it takes a while to sit there and just kind of compress the air.

    CNN Transcript Jul 8, 2007

  • For a stereo stream, not only do you not have to "compress" audio, but you can run well beyond 44.1/16-bit. plenty of 24-bit, 96k devices, for instance.

    Griffin iMic2. Can anyone see a problem? (Update)

  • Proulx once acknowledged that she tends to "compress" too much into short stories, but her wordplay is just as relentless in her novels; she seems unaware that all innovative language derives its impact from the contrast to straightforward English.

    A Reader's Manifesto

  • a very cold wet compress, which is next completely covered by silk, gutta-percha, mackintosh, or many thicknesses of newspaper -- anything that will hold all the heat in -- as the cold compress is quickly heated up.

    The Mother and Her Child

  • And it does kind of compress the process, as you saw briefs due from one side one day, from the other side the following day and then the third day, oral argument.

    CNN Transcript - Special Event: The Florida Recount: New Lawsuits, New Accusations - November 19, 2000

  • More expensive modems use systems, such as Microcom Network Protocol (MNP), which can correct for these errors or which "compress" data to speed up transmission.

    The Big Dummies' Guide to the Internet Version 2.0 : Appendix

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