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

Or first oppressive, humid summer, for that matter. Darla Guillen Gilthorpe, Houston Chronicle, "Houston's best patio bars & restaurants, June 2019," 7 June 2019 Workplaces can be oppressive: Molly is, at first, undermined both by her boss and her co-workers. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Review: Late Night Is a Pitch-Perfect Workplace Comedy," 7 June 2019 This kind of reductive thinking is oppressive to people of all genders. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "10 Questions You’ve Always Wondered About Your Libido," 15 May 2019 Therefore those at the top of the hierarchy are logically the most oppressive, and the extraordinary success and achievements and prosperity of American Jews are thereby deeply suspicious. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "The World Is Better Than Ever. Why Are We Miserable?," 9 Mar. 2018 Raising a black child to regard America as racist and oppressive all but guarantees an unhappy black adult. Dennis Prager, National Review, "Liberals and Conservatives Are Unhappy for Different Reasons," 13 Feb. 2018 In the Global South — particularly in Brazil, Mexico, and Pakistan — students rose up en masse but with a focus aimed not just at university reforms but at dismantling dictatorships, oppressive governments, and military rule. Andalusia Knoll, Teen Vogue, "What to Know About the 1968 Tlatelolco Plaza Student Massacre," 2 Oct. 2018 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

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

12 Jun 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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