op·​pres·​sion | \ ə-ˈpre-shən How to pronounce oppression (audio) \

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 For Johnson, the museum celebrates a movie that has romanticized oppression against people who look like him. Natasha Chen, CNN, "Georgia's 'Gone with the Wind' museums are a big tourism draw -- and that's why at least one of them is changing its exhibit," 28 June 2020 The detention officer, Levar Weston, 31, was arrested Friday on charges of assault causing bodily injury and official oppression. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "Dallas County jail officer arrested after inmate says he was assaulted while in restraint chair," 27 June 2020 Growing Up Female is the most didactic in the series, using an expository voiceover to relate the bare facts of patriarchal oppression, and to organize its talking heads by theme. Phoebe Chen, The New York Review of Books, "The Films of Women’s Liberation," 27 June 2020 These 18-year-old Black men from across the U.S. want to make their mark, but the nation's long history of violence and oppression suggests the odds are against them. Alex Connor, USA TODAY, "They grew up. Tamir Rice did not.," 23 June 2020 But the nation's long history of violence and oppression against African Americans suggests the odds are against them. USA Today, "These Black teens are turning 18 in Tamir Rice’s America," 22 June 2020 So many, many awful things happened after Granger made his speech, so much violence and oppression. Annette Gordon-reed, The New Yorker, "Growing Up with Juneteenth," 19 June 2020 The memorial, which resides in the onetime capital of the Confederacy, has been the target of vandalism and the ire of protesters calling for the removal of statues that symbolize oppression. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'We're not stopping': Arrests and gas don't scare away protesters at Robert E. Lee monument," 19 June 2020 As a result, Black people in Texas had continued living under the oppression none the wiser. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Miss Juneteenth Is The Timely Narrative We Need Right Now," 19 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for oppression

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for oppression

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oppression.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oppression. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for oppression


op·​pres·​sion | \ ə-ˈpre-shən How to pronounce oppression (audio) \

Kids Definition of oppression

: cruel or unjust use of power or authority


op·​pres·​sion | \ ə-ˈpre-shən How to pronounce oppression (audio) \

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 How to pronounce oppressive (audio) \ adjective

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