press gang

(redirected from press-gangs)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

press gang

also press·gang (prĕs′găng′)
n.
A company of men under an officer detailed to force men into military or naval service.

press gang

n
(Historical Terms) (formerly) a detachment of men used to press civilians for service in the navy or army
vb (tr)
1. (Historical Terms) to force (a person) to join the navy or army by a press gang
2. to induce (a person) to perform a duty by forceful persuasion: his friends press-ganged him into joining the committee.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.press gang - a detachment empowered to force civilians to serve in the army or navy
detachment - a small unit of troops of special composition
References in classic literature ?
Her defence was (I have the trial in my pocket), "that she had lived in credit, and wanted for nothing, till a press-gang came and stole her husband from her; but since then, she had no bed to lie on; nothing to give her children to eat; and they were almost naked; and perhaps she might have done something wrong, for she hardly knew what she did.
Following on from the escapades of Prince Caspian, this sets sail without the two eldest Pevensie children, Peter and Susan, and press-gangs fresh talent to carry the series into the choppy waters of the fourth book, The Silver Chair.
The play tells the tale of the so-called`foster mother of wild spirits' whose cottage in Egremont,near New Brighton, was a haven for smugglers, wreckers and fugitives from press-gangs in 18th-century Wirral.