Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

oppress

play
verb op·press \ə-ˈpres\

Simple Definition of oppress

  • : to treat (a person or group of people) in a cruel or unfair way

  • : to make (someone) feel sad or worried for a long period of time

Full Definition of oppress

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a archaic :  suppress b :  to crush or burden by abuse of power or authority

  3. 2 :  to burden spiritually or mentally :  weigh heavily upon

op·pres·sor play \-ˈpre-sər\ noun

Examples of oppress

  1. The country has long been oppressed by a ruthless dictator.

  2. They condemned attempts by the government to oppress its citizens.

  3. people who have traditionally been oppressed by society



Origin of oppress

Middle English, from Anglo-French oppresser, from Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, from ob- against + premere to press — more at ob-, press


First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of oppress

wrong, oppress, persecute, aggrieve mean to injure unjustly or outrageously. wrong implies inflicting injury either unmerited or out of proportion to what one deserves <a penal system that had wronged him>. oppress suggests inhumane imposing of burdens one cannot endure or exacting more than one can perform <a people oppressed by a warmongering tyrant>. persecute implies a relentless and unremitting subjection to annoyance or suffering <a child persecuted by constant criticism>. aggrieve implies suffering caused by an infringement or denial of rights <a legal aid society representing aggrieved minority groups>.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up oppress? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 9, 2016

marked by high spirits and laughter

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

kittly-benders duvet pince-nez spindrift
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ