Whenever something is squished together, compression takes place, like a tight bandage around your sprained ankle — the compression helps protect it from further injury.

Compression comes from the Latin word compressare, meaning “to press together.” Compression is an important part of how car engines function: fuel and air are compressed then ignited and that makes the power that turns the wheels. Compression can also happen to your day's schedule, such as when a snow storm causes school to start late, a schedule compression means that you have all your classes but they are shorter.

Definitions of compression
  1. noun
    the act of applying pressure
    synonyms: compressing
    see moresee less
    decompressing, decompression
    relieving pressure (especially bringing a compressed person gradually back to atmospheric pressure)
    show 13 types...
    hide 13 types...
    squeeze, squeezing
    the act of gripping and pressing firmly
    condensation, condensing
    the act of increasing the density of something
    compaction, crunch, crush
    the act of crushing
    the action or process of compressing
    (pathology) sudden constriction of a hollow organ (as a blood vessel)
    the act of forcing yourself (or being forced) into or through a restricted space
    (pathology) constriction of a body part so as to cut off the flow of blood or other fluid
    pinch, tweak
    a squeeze with the fingers
    inspissation, thickening
    the act of thickening
    grind, mill, pulverisation, pulverization
    the act of grinding to a powder or dust
    the act of forcing something out by squeezing or pressing
    expulsion, extrusion
    squeezing out by applying pressure
    decrease in the diameter of blood vessels
    type of:
    press, pressing, pressure
    the act of pressing; the exertion of pressure
  2. noun
    the process or result of becoming smaller or pressed together
    synonyms: condensation, contraction
    see moresee less
    coarctation, constriction
    tight or narrow compression
    type of:
    shrinkage, shrinking
    process or result of becoming less or smaller
  3. noun
    an increase in the density of something
    synonyms: compaction, concretion, densification
    see moresee less
    type of:
    increase in density
  4. noun
    encoding information while reducing the bandwidth or bits required
    see moresee less
    restoring compressed information to its normal form for use or display
    image compression
    the compression of graphics for storage or transmission
    a set of standards adopted by the moving pictures experts group for the compression of digital video and audio data or a file of data compressed according to those standards
    type of:
    encoding, encryption
    the activity of converting data or information into code
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week