Write on- I feel so pressurised I might just explode!


It’s funny how words are used on both sides of the pond. I grew up with my father’s clear demands to speak the King’s English. Me, being far too clever for my own good, would respond to his demand with–Well, which King? Didn’t Canute speak Saxon and John parlayed in French? What sent my father over the edge was my final biting query…Dad just how old are you? You do know that we have a Queen? That cheeky response only resulted in next year’s Christmas present as a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary. Not a thrilling gift when you are just ten.

So he won, and I won a few verbal battles, and that’s a good result for us both.  It may have looked like open verbal warfare to the outside world,  but we loved challenging each other. However, my father would have hated the usage of…

He pressurised me into marrying him.

With what gas?  He would ask.

But saying instead…

He pressured me into marrying him.

Using the word as written above would not only warrant a nod of approval from him, but with an added curt remark, more fool him.

It was just over the last few years that I began to notice quite a few people using the term pressurised me as in…. I feel so pressurised. I was pressurised into taking that job.  I thought this was just a new cool usage of the word and wondered when it had become so commonplace.  It’s just not a usage that I am familiar with. I need to get to the bottom of this before the pressure boils up to an uncomfortable level and I am pressurised.

Is it correct to say–

I feel so pressurised about all this nonsense that I want to blow up?

Or better.

I feel so pressured that I might blow up?


I dipped into my little OED printed in 1938 and nowhere is this word used as such, in fact there isn’t even an entry of the word. My father and I had a little battle over this dictionary, I found it on the shelves of a bookshop and was thrilled with the red leather bindings, he looked at it and promptly claimed it as his own. It was only after he pressed his library name into the front page, and I had guilted him beyond all fatherly guilt, did he begrudgingly give it back to me. It was a bittersweet victory on my part, for whenever I use the dictionary, his library press mark is there to taunt me.



Pressurize From my red 1938 OED…not found


But on-line on the Oxford British Dictionary 

Pressurized ( with the Z spelling)


[with object]

  • 1produce or maintain raised pressure artificially in (a gas or its container): the mixture was pressurized to 1,900 atmospheres

    (as adjective pressurized) a pressurized can
  • maintain a tolerable atmospheric pressure in (an aircraft cabin) at a high altitude: (as adjective pressurized) a pressurized cabin
  • 2 [with object] attempt to persuade or coerce (someone) into doing something: don’t let anyone pressurize you into snap decisions

Aha, so there you go, you can pressurize someone without them blowing up from noxious gases.

And not much different from the American Side of Oxford , other than the Brits just pressurize people into making snap decisions, and the Yanks, pressurize governments and voters…

  • 2attempt to persuade or coerce (someone) into doing something: the protests were an attempt to pressurize the government into bringing an end to the violence

    [with object and infinitive]: people had been pressurized to vote

I am all out of gas at this point! Where are you in all this? Have you heard the word used this way? Which do you use and which do you prefer? 

About susan sheldon nolen

It’s rare to catch me without coffee, a form of camera, or my beloved wire fox terriers. I love the history, the art, and it’s a massive part of my life, as I either paint, write, or get interrupted by my dogs, reminding me of the real world. I hope you enjoy your time here. It’s such a privilege to have readers.
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8 Responses to Write on- I feel so pressurised I might just explode!

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    I have heard it used this way, though I haven’t used it that way myself. Never really thought about it before. But now every time I hear it, I’ll think of you. 🙂

  2. I’ve heard of working in a pressurised environment, Susan, or the office at work… which is a similar thing!

  3. Pseu says:

    Interesting: but the UK spelling would be with an S not a Z I feel….

  4. Cameron says:

    It sounds wrong. I can’t argue your research, pressurized like that just looks wrong and feels awkward on the tongue.

    • Gosh Cameron, I so can’t get used to saying– you’ve just pressurised me into responding to your comment! 🙂 It sounds, looks, and feels weird! I am so with you on this one..enough of all this..I feel pressured into a coffee break! Want to join me? 🙂

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