To decompress is either to reduce physical pressure on something or to unwind and relax after a long, hard day. You might need to decompress after a four-hour study session with your math tutor.

When you compress something, you squeeze or flatten it, the way you'd compress an air mattress before rolling it up. If you decrease or let up that pressure, you decompress the air mattress. It's much more common to use this verb to mean "relax," to loosen a completely different kind of pressure. You may decompress after school by watching TV or taking your dog for a walk.

Definitions of decompress

v restore to its uncompressed form

decompress data”
compact, compress, pack together
make more compact by or as if by pressing
Type of:
reconstruct, restore
return to its original or usable and functioning condition

v decrease the pressure of

depressurise, depressurize
pressurise, pressurize
increase the pressure in or of
cause to lose air pressure or collapse by piercing
Type of:
adjust, correct, set
alter or regulate so as to achieve accuracy or conform to a standard

v become less tense, rest, or take one's ease

loosen up, relax, slow down, unbend, unwind
tense, tense up
become tense, nervous, or uneasy
vege out, vegetate
engage in passive relaxation
sit back, take it easy
settle into a comfortable sitting position
Type of:
change state, turn
undergo a transformation or a change of position or action

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