Definition of press gang in English:

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press gang


A body of men employed to enlist men forcibly into service in the army or navy.
Example sentences
  • The Marine Society offered an alternative to the press gang, a violent and socially divisive method of conscription which the perpetually under-manned Royal Navy used in every war.
  • A press gang might withdraw, releasing its victims.
  • The reason for the difference was the traditional Royal Navy view that all officers were volunteers, but that, recalling the press gang, ratings were generally not so in wartime.


[with object] (press-gang) chiefly historical
1Forcibly enlist (someone) into service in the army or navy: (as adjective press-ganged) a press-ganged navy
More example sentences
  • ‘No one intends to press-gang students into the Army,’ Ivanov said Friday.
  • You'll have to be my cover until I press-gang him aboard with a bit of my much vaunted legerdemain.
  • Another danger for Whitby men was of being press-ganged into the Royal Navy, and they would try all kinds of tricks to escape the attentions of the Press Gang.
1.1 (press-gang someone into) Force someone to do something: we press-ganged Simon into playing
More example sentences
  • Rubin, in a sense, press-gangs Stella into an old battle.
  • The ambulance officers ‘did what they could’ but had to press gang a police officer to drive their vehicle back to Liverpool.
  • But the genuine power of such stories is ultimately devalued by this tendency to press gang any old tale into the mythology of a particular city.

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