oppressive

adjective
op·​pres·​sive | \ ə-ˈpre-siv How to pronounce oppressive (audio) \

Definition of oppressive

1 : unreasonably burdensome or severe oppressive legislation oppressive taxes the oppressive power of corporations and Wall Street— Jim Hightower
2 : tyrannical an oppressive government
3 : overwhelming or depressing to the spirit or senses an oppressive climate the dusty drabness that was oppressive in its uneventfulness— Geoffrey Moorhouse

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Other Words from oppressive

oppressively adverb
oppressiveness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for oppressive

onerous, burdensome, oppressive, exacting mean imposing hardship. onerous stresses being laborious and heavy especially because distasteful. the onerous task of cleaning up the mess burdensome suggests causing mental as well as physical strain. burdensome responsibilities oppressive implies extreme harshness or severity in what is imposed. the oppressive tyranny of a police state exacting implies rigor or sternness rather than tyranny or injustice in the demands made or in the one demanding. an exacting employer

Examples of oppressive in a Sentence

The country is ruled by an oppressive regime. I think these laws are oppressive. This region suffers from oppressive heat in the summer months. The situation was extremely tense; no one said a word, and the silence was oppressive.
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Recent Examples on the Web In his book, former National Security Adviser John Bolton depicted Pence as an ally in Bolton’s attempts to take hard lines against oppressive regimes while Trump sought to cut deals and appease totalitarian leaders. USA Today, "How Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris stack up against each other," 7 Oct. 2020 The masked broadcast immediately sowed divisions on Twitter, where some scolded the two for appearing reluctant to follow a health order, while others accused the county of being oppressive. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "NBC’s Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels wear masks, loosing predictable reactions," 4 Oct. 2020 But, yes, on balance, the police act more as an oppressive force when dealing with Black people than in dealing with white people. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why Black and white Americans see the justice system differently (audio)," 10 Aug. 2020 Vesey and about 30 others were executed regardless, and South Carolina became more oppressive in upholding the slavery system. Katherine Fitzgerald, The Arizona Republic, "'1 of 1': Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins gives nod to history, next steps with uniform," 4 Oct. 2020 Cooper’s theories about a looming oppressive government resonated with that crowd. AZCentral.com, "How William Cooper and his book ‘Behold a Pale Horse’ planted seeds of QAnon conspiracy theory," 1 Oct. 2020 There weren’t strict rules, but they were expected to be child-friendly and positive in tone, a counter to the oppressive nature of the raging pandemic. Ryan Kost, SFChronicle.com, "What will happen to the plywood murals of 2020?," 27 Sep. 2020 Environmentalism, as the term has traditionally been coined, is inherently white, violent, and oppressive. Georgia Murray, refinery29.com, "Meet The Women Decolonizing Sustainable Fashion," 25 Sep. 2020 An oppressive government has its own nefarious plans? Nick Romano, EW.com, "The best anime on Netflix right now," 18 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oppressive.' 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 oppressive

circa 1677, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for oppressive

borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French oppressif, borrowed from Medieval Latin oppressīvus, from Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere "to press on, stifle, overpower" + -īvus -ive — more at oppress

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Time Traveler for oppressive

Time Traveler

The first known use of oppressive was circa 1677

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Statistics for oppressive

Last Updated

19 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oppressive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oppressive. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for oppressive

oppressive

adjective
How to pronounce oppressive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of oppressive

: very cruel or unfair
: very unpleasant or uncomfortable

oppressive

adjective
op·​pres·​sive | \ ə-ˈpre-siv How to pronounce oppressive (audio) \

Kids Definition of oppressive

1 : cruel or harsh without just cause oppressive laws
2 : very unpleasant or uncomfortable oppressive heat

Other Words from oppressive

oppressively adverb

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Comments on oppressive

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