oppression

noun
op·​pres·​sion | \ ə-ˈpre-shən \

Definition of oppression

1a : unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power the continuing oppression of the … underclasses— H. 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

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Examples of oppression in a Sentence

suffered a lingering oppression in the weeks after his dog died

Recent Examples on the Web

The duo performed the track live at the Billboard Music Awards in May, a week before the release of the anti-oppression video. Muri Assunção, Billboard, "10 Christina Aguilera Songs for Your Pride Month Playlist: Listen," 25 June 2018 Expanding the story past the end of Margaret Atwood’s novel expands the world fruitfully, filling in the details of its patriarchal dictatorship and exploring how all the parts of a system of oppression work. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "On That ‘Barry’ Finale and Why Some Shows Are So Good, They Need to End," 13 May 2018 Reducing human beings to animals is a timeworn method for oppression, and for African-Americans in particular, animal rhetoric has been a long-standing tool of white supremacy. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "The Survival Instincts of Atlanta’s Flawless Second Season," 11 May 2018 Whatever liberating possibilities social media might have held, state control has turned them into instruments of oppression. Crispin Sartwell, WSJ, "What’s Worse Than Facebook?," 6 Jan. 2019 The helmet has long been associated with colonial rule, particularly in Africa, and are a symbol of oppression. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "Melania Trump Told Reporters She 'Doesn't Always Agree' With Her Husband," 7 Oct. 2018 The Guardian points out that this specific headgear has become a symbol of oppression — a comment that many are echoing on social media. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Melania Trump Wore a White Pith Helmet While Visiting Kenya," 6 Oct. 2018 The language of intersectionality is popular among liberals and on the left, used to denote the speaker’s attention to the subtleties of structural oppression. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 Respondents who didn’t know about contemporary oppression were less willing to support a broad range of social justice issues, including treaty rights and eliminating racist sports mascots. Rebecca Nagle, Teen Vogue, "Invisibility is the Modern Form of Racism Against Native Americans," 23 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oppression.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of oppression

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

History and Etymology for oppression

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

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Last Updated

19 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for oppression

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

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More Definitions for oppression

oppression

noun
op·​pres·​sion | \ ə-ˈpre-shən \

Kids Definition of oppression

: cruel or unjust use of power or authority

oppression

noun
op·​pres·​sion | \ ə-ˈpre-shən \

Legal Definition of oppression

: 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

Other Words from oppression

oppressive \ ə-​ˈpre-​siv \ adjective

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