Definition of pent-up in English:

Share this entry



1(Of emotions, energy, etc.) unable to be expressed or released: pent-up frustrations
More example sentences
  • Our teacher then taught us several breathing techniques which were promised to result in a calm expulsion of toxins, the release of pent-up emotions and a sizzling spurt of energy.
  • Try to release your pent-up emotions by participating in some extra physical activities like running, swimming, whatever.
  • At the time it didn't sound like a clever psychological ploy, but rather a release of pent-up emotions.
2Closely confined or held back: a surge of pent-up water
More example sentences
  • The pent-up waters, controlled by a sluice gate, were directed past the mill wheel, driving the wooden gears, shafts and millstones.
  • 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.
repressed, suppressed, stifled, smothered, restrained, constrained, confined, bottled up, held in/back, kept in check, curbed, bridled


Late 16th century: pent, obsolete past participle of pen2 (verb).

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.