I keep seeing a popular question asking about atmospheric pressure "crushing" us. The word "crush" throws me off. It is my understanding that air molecules create pressure due to collisions. In other words, the molecules exert pressure due to having kinetic energy - and the more molecules you have, the more collisions you have. Under that mechanism, wouldn't it be technically incorrect to use the term "crushing" to describe atmospheric pressure? The way I see it, gravity causes air molecules to increasingly weigh down on the next level of air below it, continuing all the way down. This causes there to be greater density at the bottom, which in turn means more collision. So is atmospheric pressure due to gravitational pull? Or is it due to particle collisions (in this case gravity's role being to only "densify" these particles)? Or both? When people speak of crushing, does the atmosphere actually crush us in the gravitational sense of pulling down or weighing down molecules against us? Or does the weighing down of molecules only create a density gradient, and from there "kinetic energy" of the density field "crushes" us? Or perhaps a contribution of both?