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press (all) the right buttons
To do something very skillfully and in a way that produces the best or desired result. While the movie's plot is a bit thin, its charming 1980s aesthetic pushes all the right buttons. I must have hit the right buttons, because they've asked me back for a second interview.
press (one) to the wall
To force one into a desperate position in which one's options are limited and typically require desperate actions. If the government continues pushing its citizens to the wall, it shouldn't b surprised when they rise up to destroy it. Increasing financial pressures are pushing Tom to the wall. I think he needs help.
press (one's) luck
1. To risk losing the success or fortune one has garnered thus far by brashly or overconfidently seeking more. I've had some good winnings at blackjack, but I don't think I should press my luck any further.
2. To try to gain some additional benefit or advantage after one has already been granted or awarded something. Usually used in negative constructions as an imperative. If Mom is letting you stay out till midnight on Friday, don't press your luck and ask for a later curfew on Saturday, too. A: "Thank you for the raise. I was wondering if you might also consider expanding my benefits, too." B: "Don't press your luck."
press (someone or something) into service
To force, coerce, or pressure someone or something into fulfilling a particular function or purpose. My uncle is an ordained minister, so maybe we can press him into service for our wedding. Our van broke down just ahead of our big road trip, so our tiny sedan had to be pressed into service.
press (someone's) buttons
1. To do things that create a very strong emotional reaction in someone, especially anger, irritation, or exasperation. I hate Dave's new boyfriend—he's always trying to press my buttons, and he's doing a good job of it! No one will be able to press your buttons like your children, but it's all a part of the adventure of parenthood.
2. To be sexually attractive or arousing to someone. Did you see that waitress over at the other table? Man, she presses my buttons.
press (something) (up)on (one)
To urge or try to persuade someone to take or accept something. Despite our protests, my parents pressed the money on us to help pay for the wedding. He pressed the documents on the reporter, insisting that it would be a huge story.
press (something) into (something)
To force someone or something into some space or crevice. The criminal pressed the hostages into a supply closet and locked the door. I pressed the part into the right slot, but the machine still didn't work.
press (something) onto (something else)
To apply pressure down on something against the surface of something else. He pressed the temporary tattoo onto his arm. He pressed the rubber stamp onto the form to give his official mark of approval
press (something) out of (something else)
To remove something from something else by pressing down on it. We press the oil out of whole olives using a hydraulic press. They don't have electricity on their farm, so they wash clothes by hand and press the water out of them with a mangle.
press (the) flesh
To meet, talk to, and shake hands with many different people. Used especially in reference to a politician running for office. There's no way you'll win the election if you aren't out pressing the flesh among your constituents. I've always been something of a germophobe, so I don't like pressing flesh with strangers.
press against (someone or something)
1. To push or lean against someone or something. There's a big piece of sheet metal pressing against the door we're trying to get open. Stop pressing against me, would you? You need to wait your turn like everyone else.
2. To push or lean someone or something against another person or thing. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "press" and "against." She pressed him against the door and leaned in for a kiss. He just kept pressing his fingers against the side of his head. Please don't press your feet against me like that.
To proceed or continue with some action, task, or activity, especially with determination or in the face of adversity. Often followed by "with." The start of my presentation did not go as I had hoped, but I had to just press ahead and keep talking. We need to press ahead and get back to camp before sunset. We decided to press ahead with the project despite our manager's departure.
To make a formal legal complaint of wrongdoing or mistreatment against another person. A: "Is it true that Greg pressed charges against you?" B: "Yes, but his claim is completely false! I've never done anything to him!" I really hope our neighbors don't press charges against us—I never would have cut down that tree if I had known it was on their property!
press down on (someone or something)
1. To push or lean down on someone or something. It's stuck—something is pressing down on the door! They all dogpiled on me, but having all that weight press down on my started giving me an anxiety attack.
2. To push or lean someone or something down on another person or thing. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "press" and "down on." The criminal pressed the hostage down on the ground and put a gun against his head. Press your hand down on the wound to stop the flow of blood. Someone keeps pressing my hat down on me.
1. To request, urge, or demand for something to happen. We've been pressing for an increase in the minimum wage for the last decade. Employees pressed for a police investigation into the CEO after it came to light that he'd been using company funds to pay for personal vacations.
2. To request, urge, or demand that someone do or provide something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "press" and "for." The journalist pressed him for an answer to her question, but the senator declined to comment. The auditors are pressing me for an explanation about the missing money—what am I supposed to tell them?
1. To propel someone or something forward by pressing or leaning on them or it. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "press" and "forward." We need to press this part forward so it lines up with the rest of the machine. Someone pressed me forward when the captain asked for volunteers.
2. To continue moving forward, especially in spite of a physical impediment of some kind. We kept pressing forward through the thick jungle foliage. I know everyone is tired, but we should press forward and get to camp before it gets too dark.
3. To continue making progress (in something), especially in spite of some kind of difficulty, setback, problem, etc. The loss of our chief researcher is tough, but we're going to press forward with our project nonetheless. I just hope the two governments keep pressing forward with discussions for a peace agreement.
To emphasize or reiterate something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "press" and "home." The nightly news always presses home the presence of danger in our city and makes my anxiety worse. I try to have some kind of visual aid to press my point home during a presentation.
1. To force something in some space or crevice. A noun or pronoun can used between "press" and "in." He pressed the paste in the cracks to seal them up. She found a whole beneath the chair where she pressed in her chewed-up gum.
2. To depress something. A noun or pronoun can used between "press" and "in." I pressed in the button, but nothing happened. Make sure you press it in all the way, or it won't work.
1. To apply physical force or pressure on someone or something, typically with one's fingers. Next, press on the big red button—that should reset it. What about here? Does it hurt when I press on it? This part is out of place, which is making this piece press on the fan.
2. To push or lean against someone or something. It's stuck—something is pressing on the door! It was awful having so many people press on me in the crowded train.
3. To cause something to stick onto some surface by applying pressure down on it. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "press" and "on." He pressed the temporary tattoo on his arm. Make sure you press on the sticker for at least fifteen seconds, or it won't stay in place.
4. To continue or try to do something with determination, especially when facing hardships or setbacks. It was discouraging to learn that our budget had been cut, but we pressed on in the hopes of recovering our investment costs. We have to press on. We've come too far to turn back now!
5. To challenge someone insistently on some point or argument. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "press" and "on." The detective pressed the suspect on his alibi. The prosecutor kept pressing the witness on her statement.
6. To insist that someone accept something, especially a gift. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "press" and "on." My mother always presses all sorts of unnecessary gifts on the kids whenever we come to visit.
To continue or try to do something with determination, especially when facing hardships or setbacks. It was discouraging to learn that our budget had been cut, but we pressed onward in the hopes of recovering our investment costs. We have to press onward. We've come too far to turn back now!
To remove something by pressing down (on something else). A noun or pronoun can be used between "press" and "out." Make sure you press the water out with the wringer before you hang up the clothes to dry. We crush the washed olives into a paste, and then press out the oil using a hydraulic press.
press the button
1. To initiate a war with another country, especially a nuclear war. Many fear that the recent decision to restrict the country's access to foreign oil and other imports may drive their leader to press the button.
2. By extension, to initiate or instigate something. After debating it with myself for nearly a year, I decided to press the button and start my own company.
press the panic button
To overreact to a negative situation with an inordinate amount of fear, alarm, or confusion. If you're going to be a successful boss, you can't press the panic button every time your company has a minor setback. New parents tend to press the panic button over every little sniffle their first baby gets.
To apply pressure to two or more people or things in order for them to be sealed or stuck close together. A noun or pronoun can be used between "press" and "together." We pressed our lips together in a passionate kiss. We use steel rollers to press together the various materials. The thronging crowd pressed Janet and me together for the duration of the train ride.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
press charges (against someone)and file charges (against someone)
Fig. to make a formal charge of wrongdoing against someone. They agreed not to press charges against me if I agreed to pay for the damages.
press for something
1. to urge for something to be done; to request something. The mayor is pressing for an early settlement to the strike. I will press her for an answer. The citizens are pressing for an investigation of the incident.
2. to press a button for service. If you need any help, just press for service. Here is the steward's button. Just press for immediate service.
to move forward; to struggle forward; to continue. Do not be discouraged. Let us press forward. We must press forward and complete this work on time.
press on something
to push or depress something, such as a button, catch, snap, etc. Press on this button if you require room service. Don't press on this because it rings a loud bell.
to continue; to continue to try. Don't give up! Press onward! I have lots to do. I must press on.
press something together
to use pressure to close or unite things. He pressed his lips together and would say no more. Why are his lips pressed together so tightly?
press something (up)on someone
to urge or force something on someone; to try to get someone to accept something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) He always presses second helpings upon his guests. She pressed a gift on us that we could not refuse.
press (up)on someone or something
to put pressure on someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) The crowd pressed upon the child, squeezing out all his breath. The load presses on your car's springs very heavily.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
press the buttoninitiate an action or train of events. informal
During the cold war period, this expression was often used with reference to the possible action of the US or Soviet presidents in starting a nuclear war.
press (or push or hit) the panic buttonrespond to a situation by panicking or taking emergency measures. informal
A panic button is a security device which can be used to raise the alarm in an emergency.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
To entreat or require someone to provide something: The reporters pressed the politician for a reply.
1. To apply direct pressure to something: I pressed on the edge of the table, and it tipped over.
2. To continue doing something with determination and despite setbacks: Despite their exhaustion, the climbers pressed on toward the summit.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
press the panic buttonverb
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
To bring a formal accusation of criminal wrongdoing against someone.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.