What does it mean when someone says they’ll ‘put the pressure on’? And in which contexts should you use it? Read this article to find out.
In short, to ‘put pressure on’ someone means trying to influence their behavior and convince them to do something they may not want to do.
To truly understand the meaning of the idiom ‘put pressure on,’ let’s break down its different components.
To begin with, it’s helpful to understand the meaning of the word ‘pressure.’ It’s an uncountable noun that represents the force created by the amount of air or gas in that room. For example:
The pressure on board an airplane has to be just right.
That’s the scientific term, but it’s also applied in everyday contexts to talk about using a potent force. For example:
She applied pressure to the wound so that it would stop bleeding.
Pressure is strong and heavy. Imagine an invisible wall pushing against you, forcing you to keep stepping backward. This should help you better understand the meaning of putting pressure on something.
As we have covered, the word ‘pressure’ refers to a strong force that can be challenging to withstand. Hence, when we put pressure on someone, we use force to convince them to do something or act a certain way.
You can put pressure on a person, a group of people, an establishment, a company, a subset of the population, etc.
Top tip! You can also use the verb ‘pressure’ or ‘pressurize’ to talk about the act of putting pressure on someone.
Now that you know what it means to ‘put pressure on’ someone, here are some examples of the idiom used in a sentence:
Economic crises always put a lot of pressure on single mothers to take on extra part-time work.
We have to put pressure on the city’s representatives to make public transport more accessible.
That last goal put a lot of pressure on the opposing team.
High schools need to hire more teaching assistants to take the pressure off the teachers.
There's a large number of us; we have the ability to put a lot of pressure on decision-makers.
I think he's bluffing; he's just trying to put pressure on you.
My parents are putting pressure on me to get married and have kids, but I’m not ready yet.
Advertising puts a lot of pressure on people to own all the latest gadgets.
The advance he'd received put a lot of pressure on him to get his second book written in a timely manner.
There's a lot of pressure on people in the modeling industry to look perfect.
I hope you’ll agree when I say that ‘put pressure on’ is a pretty straightforward idiom that’s easy to use, especially since it can be used in a variety of situations.
If you’d like to learn more English idioms, head to our blog, where we cover many commonly used expressions.