Definition of pent-up in US English:



  • Closely confined or held back.

    ‘pent-up frustrations’
    • ‘A captured fish or a pent-up mass of water was, by contrast, a private good, something that belonged to someone.’
    • ‘It forms a significant bulwark against the tide so that, even on neaps, there is an appreciable movement of water as the pent-up flow sweeps around the headland.’
    • ‘The pent-up waters, controlled by a sluice gate, were directed past the mill wheel, driving the wooden gears, shafts and millstones.’
    • ‘Pent-up water from three days of heavy rain gushed through the breach.’
    • ‘A huge lake of water is held back by this and I can sense the force/pressure of this pent up water.’
    repressed, suppressed, stifled, smothered, restrained, constrained, confined, bottled up, held back, held in, kept in check, curbed, bridled
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Late 16th century: pent, obsolete past participle of pen (verb).