To decompress is either to reduce physical pressure on something or to unwind and relax after a long, hard day. You might need to decompress after a four-hour study session with your math tutor.

When you compress something, you squeeze or flatten it, the way you’d compress an air mattress before rolling it up. If you decrease or let up that pressure, you decompress the air mattress. It’s much more common to use this verb to mean “relax,” to loosen a completely different kind of pressure. You may decompress after school by watching TV or taking your dog for a walk.

Definitions of decompress
  1. verb

    restore to its uncompressed form

    decompress data”
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    compact, compress, pack together

    make more compact by or as if by pressing
    type of:

    reconstruct, restore

    return to its original or usable and functioning condition

  2. verb

    decrease the pressure of

    depressurise, depressurize
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    pressurise, pressurize

    increase the pressure in or of


    cause to lose air pressure or collapse by piercing
    type of:

    adjust, correct, set

    alter or regulate so as to achieve accuracy or conform to a standard

  3. verb

    become less tense, rest, or take one’s ease

    loosen up, relax, slow down, unbend, unwind
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    tense, tense up

    become tense, nervous, or uneasy

    vege out, vegetate

    engage in passive relaxation
    sit back, take it easy

    settle into a comfortable sitting position
    type of:

    change state, turn

    undergo a transformation or a change of position or action

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