Definition of decompress in US English:



  • 1with object Relieve or reduce the pressure on (something).

    1. 1.1 Expand (compressed data) to its normal size so that it can be read and processed by a computer.
    2. 1.2 Subject (a diver) to decompression.
  • 2North American informal no object Calm down and relax.

    ‘Michael sits for a minute to decompress before walking home’
    • ‘‘You have to decompress before feeling turned on,’ says Goldman.’
    • ‘5 p.m. Start to decompress and make plans for tomorrow, so stress is reduced.’
    • ‘We were decompressing from a full day of bar study and torture.’
    • ‘‘Just to start the day and get your blood flowing or decompress before bedtime,’ she says.’
    • ‘The bark of seals drowns out the din of the city you left behind, and at night the canal's placid silence is just what you need to decompress.’
    • ‘I have been walking all day and night, and am now decompressing before the flight home in the morning.’
    • ‘It allows soldiers to stay focused while fighting in a dangerous environment, and when they return to the FOB, they can relax and decompress after a day on the streets.’
    • ‘Now he's decompressing and has no plans to leap into anything new just yet.’
    • ‘Relief washed over her, but she needed a couple minutes to decompress.’
    • ‘R. stretched out on the couch while G. and I unloaded the van but she could hardly wait to get into one of the rocking chairs on the front porch where we ate lunch and began the process of decompressing from our long journey.’
    • ‘It will help you decompress and establish boundaries between work and play.’
    • ‘‘It gives people a place to go to decompress,’ the owner recently told me.’
    • ‘‘After sitting in an office for eight hours a day, working out was the perfect way to decompress and relax,’ she says.’
    • ‘Nancy Monson is a freelance writer in Fairfield, Conn., who decompresses from holiday get-togethers by sneaking off to the movies.’
    • ‘Changes aside, Stress Recess is the answer when you need to decompress.’
    • ‘I'm heading where I can't be found for a while… time to decompress.’
    • ‘In a reality of pain and hypervigilance, cops decompress by leaning on one another and/or taunting the living hell out of each other.’
    • ‘In the clubhouse afterward, decompressing at his locker with his elbows on his knees, Hensley couldn't stop shaking his head.’
    • ‘It took me some months after defending my dissertation before I could decompress, but I did.’
    • ‘The question, which has been eating at Matthews for several years, is gnawing on him a couple of hours later as he decompresses at a party at Spago in Beverly Hills.’
    compose oneself, recover one's composure, regain one's composure, control oneself, recover one's self-control, regain one's self-control, pull oneself together, keep one's head, simmer down, cool down, cool off, take it easy
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