oppression

noun

op·​pres·​sion ə-ˈpre-shən How to pronounce oppression (audio)
1
a
: unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power
the continuing oppression of the … underclassesH. A. Daniels
b
: something that oppresses especially in being an unjust or excessive exercise of power
unfair taxes and other oppressions
2
: a sense of being weighed down in body or mind : depression
an oppression of spirits

Examples of oppression in a Sentence

suffered a lingering oppression in the weeks after his dog died
Recent Examples on the Web When playing jab, the body is covered with black molasses, oil, or charcoal, and horns and chains, symbolizing the defiance of slavery and colonial oppression, are worn. Melissa Noel, Essence, 13 Feb. 2024 The Black innovators that shaped the US economy Many American historians and education experts agree that K-12 schools’ history curricula too often highlight stories of trauma and oppression, even during Black History Month. Morgan Haefner, Quartz, 12 Feb. 2024 The former judge had been accused of gross neglect of duty, gross partiality and oppression in office, lack of proper temperament and failure to supervise her office, according to a petition by John Kane, the chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Maham Javaid, Washington Post, 11 Feb. 2024 The fight against capital punishment stood at the core of his lifelong defense of human rights against oppression and cruelty. Aurelien Breeden, New York Times, 9 Feb. 2024 These vicious, brutal attitudes, along with the most passionate and visceral expressions from Smith’s stunning monologue built from years of oppression, contrasts with specific moments which come off as untrue. David John Chávez, The Mercury News, 7 Feb. 2024 Gun violence reflects the trauma of white supremacy and the intentional economic oppression of Black Americans across centuries. Amanda Joy Calhoun, Md, Parents, 4 Feb. 2024 Many hardline Hindus believe the era was a period of oppression under Muslim rule, a view that has also been echoed by some members of the BJP. Rhea Mogul, CNN, 4 Feb. 2024 Obviously, oppression: The analysis almost invariably stops there. Wilfred Reilly, National Review, 30 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oppression.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English oppressioun, borrowed from Anglo-French oppression, borrowed from Latin oppressiōn-, oppressiō "action of pressing on or overpowering," from oppres- or *oppret-, variant stem of opprimere "to press on, stifle, overpower" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at oppress

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of oppression was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near oppression

Cite this Entry

“Oppression.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oppression. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

oppression

noun
op·​pres·​sion ə-ˈpresh-ən How to pronounce oppression (audio)
1
: cruel or unjust use of authority or power
2
: a feeling of low spirits

Legal Definition

oppression

noun
op·​pres·​sion ə-ˈpre-shən How to pronounce oppression (audio)
: an unjust or excessive exercise of power: as
a
: unlawful, wrongful, or corrupt exercise of authority by a public official acting under color of authority that causes a person harm
b
: dishonest, unfair, wrongful, or burdensome conduct by corporate directors or majority shareholders that entitles minority shareholders to compel involuntary dissolution of the corporation
c
: inequality of bargaining power resulting in one party's lack of ability to negotiate or exercise meaningful choice see also unconscionability
oppressive adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on oppression

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