Abstract The effect of pressure on the optical absorption edge for mixed crystals Cd1-xMnxTe with different manganese concentrations in the range of lbar to 40 kbar and at room temperature is reported. The observed absorption edge shifts to higher energy with increasing pressure at a rate of a = 6-8 ×10-3 eV/kbar and a second order coefficient with the order of magnitude 10-5 eV/kbar2 for the samples with x<0.5; to lower energy with increasing pressure at a rate of a=-5.0×10-3 eV/kbar for the samples with x≥0.5. A phase transition from zinc blende to NaCl-type structure occurs for all the samples studied. The transition pressures depend on the Mn contents in the samples in the region of 25—40 kbar. The physical origins of different pressure coefficients are discussed in the light of the deformation potentials of energy band slates and the hybridization of the Mn2+ 3d levels with the p-like states in the valence band.