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

After the mother winds up in a coma, her daughter begins digging through her experiments in the basement and winds up transporting to another land amid a world's battle against a monstrous, oppressive force. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "J.J. Abrams Shopping TV Space Drama Script (Exclusive)," 16 Jan. 2018 And Buttigieg has hardened his rhetoric toward Pence, using President Donald Trump’s vice president as a foil representing an oppressive opposition. Brian Slodysko, The Seattle Times, "Buttigieg, once cordial to Pence, now critical amid campaign," 13 Apr. 2019 DuVernay evokes her grandmother’s oppressive daily reality. Allison Glock, Marie Claire, "The Change Makers: Constance Wu, Ava DuVernay, and Jessica Chastain," 7 Mar. 2019 Sometimes being a tyrant can feel quite oppressive. Charlie Theel, Ars Technica, "Root is a terrific—and fully asymmetric—woodland wargame," 29 Sep. 2018 The conservative kingdom where much of life is governed by Islamic laws shook off some of its most oppressive practices against women this year. Washington Post, "Saudi women in Russia to support team, reinforce new image," 14 June 2018 Rooted in metal, industrial, electronic noise, and drone, the tracks on Broken Limbs range from anguished and oppressive to contemplative and transcendental. Monica Kendrick, Chicago Reader, "Quintron’s Weather Warlock and Chicago polymath Bruce Lamont come together for a night of sonic witchcraft and wizardry," 11 May 2018 But that impenetrable version of Facebook has become oppressive, raising real fears about monopoly power and a new push for regulation. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Four features that would tame Facebook," 5 May 2018 Humidity is oppressive, but air conditioning is artificial; snakes and gators are dangerous, but so is the suburban sprawl that threatens their habitat. Constance Grady, Vox, "We read all 25 National Book Award finalists for 2018. Here’s what we thought.," 15 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for oppressive

Last Updated

15 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for oppressive

The first known use of oppressive was circa 1677

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More Definitions for oppressive

oppressive

adjective

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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to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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