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press (one's) luck

To risk losing the good favor or fortune one has garnered thus far by brashly or overconfidently seeking more. I know you're in the boss's good graces now, but don't press your luck: she's been known to turn on people for getting too cocky. I've had some good winnings at blackjack, but I don't think I should press my luck any further.
See also: luck, press

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.
See also: button, panic, press

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.
See also: button, press

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.
See also: press, service

press on

1. To apply physical force or pressure to 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 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!
See also: on, press

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.
See also: press

press onward

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!
See also: onward, press

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.
See also: flesh, press

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.
See also: button, press, right

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.
See also: button, press

press charges

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!
See also: charge, press

press for

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?
See also: press

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.
See also: press

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.
See also: down, on, press

press forward

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.
See also: forward, press

press in

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.
See also: press

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.
See also: press

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
See also: press

press out

To remove something by pressing down (on something else). A noun can be used before or after "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.
See also: out, press

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.
See also: of, out, press

press together

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.
See also: press, together

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.
See also: press, wall

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.
See also: charge, press

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.
See also: press

press forward

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.
See also: forward, press

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.
See also: on, press

press on(ward)

to continue; to continue to try. Don't give up! Press onward! I have lots to do. I must press on.
See also: on, press

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?
See also: press, together

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.
See also: on, press

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.
See also: on, press

press the button

initiate 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.
See also: button, press

press (or push or hit) the panic button

respond 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.
See also: button, panic, press

press for

To entreat or require someone to provide something: The reporters pressed the politician for a reply.
See also: press

press on

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.
See also: on, press

press the panic button

See also: button, panic, press

press charges

To bring a formal accusation of criminal wrongdoing against someone.
See also: charge, press
References in periodicals archive ?
More pressingly, foreign exchange reserves are dwindling, to just $6.
Going through the book country by country one begins to apprehend the common problems that demand attention: most pressingly, the prevalence of intra-state violence that involves and targets civilians.
Dr Dahl said making important documents from early human history publicly accessible is becoming increasingly important, both as a consequence of the ever-expanding influence of cyberscholarship in academic research, but also in many cases more pressingly as a matter of cultural heritage preservation in areas of the world threatened by armed conflict and collapse of security.
Motion data is streamed to a computer, where it can be used by third party applications for a multitude of research purposes, most pressingly for work in robotics and control.
More pressingly, China's aviation regulations stipulate that aircraft age should not exceed 25 years.
In the very same section we find discussions from Mozersky, Meyer and Zimmerman concerning how presentism will fare in its attempts to deal with various problems--most pressingly, the truth-maker problem.
The opening paragraph of Beyond the Frontier, with its ruminations about 'how historical anecdote may simply be a code for ideology, [and] how the reasons of state are eternally at war with historical knowledge', suggests the side of Thompson's work that remains most pressingly relevant in the twenty-first century.
Even more pressingly, especially in a city like Dubai, which is undergoing rapid development and expansion, buildings that have dedicated security systems which feed into a city-wide grid, become essential for the well being of the city.
More pressingly, there are discussions going on now in which we all must engage at length--issues such as climate change, political up heaval, and the lagging world economy.
And more pressingly, how much is the monthly rental on the tablet?
Coke explores the past but always remains deeply aware of the pressingly urgent concerns of her native Jamaica with its social patterns, class divides, racial complexity, and unpredictable twists, turns, and heart-breaking setbacks.
So true indeed did the hope become that to say that Tate was 'influenced' by Poe is to state the case too lightly: Poe was so hauntingly and pressingly close to Tate that he was like another William Wilson or a Montresor to Tate's Fortunato.
Khartoum refuses to negotiate in good faith on border delineation, oil revenue sharing (approximately 75 percent of Sudan's reserves lie in the South), citizenship and civil rights for southerners who remain in the North, and a host of economic issues, most pressingly the $38 billion in external debt that the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime has run up.
The next step is the question of adding political criteria - such as progress in the fight against corruption - which France and Germany are calling for most pressingly.
The 1,000 strong Trust reckons it will need to raise pounds 1m to buy Wrexham FC from current owners Geoff Moss and Ian Roberts - and more pressingly to settle a pounds 200,000 unpaid bill to the taxman.