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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of oppression in a Sentence

suffered a lingering oppression in the weeks after his dog died

Recent Examples on the Web

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 It was widely worn by European colonial armies in Africa and Asia and by the end of the 19th century had also become common civilian wear for Westerners in the tropics; it is considered by many a symbol of colonial oppression. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "Melania Trump Gave Us All a Valuable Lesson in How Not to Dress in Africa," 9 Oct. 2018 Slowly and suspensefully, Diaz also reveals the terrors of the Island, including a monster that serves as a child-friendly metaphor for political oppression. Nara Schoenberg, chicagotribune.com, "Junot Diaz's 'Islandborn': A pitch-perfect children's book — plus more kids' books reviewed," 19 Mar. 2018 Giving the Chinese government ready access to user data, as required by Chinese law, would make Google complicit in oppression and human rights abuses. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Google employees push to cancel Chinese search engine in new letter," 27 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about oppression

Share oppression

Statistics for oppression

Last Updated

5 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oppression

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on oppression

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to express emotion in a dramatic way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!