repress

1 of 2

verb (1)

re·​press ri-ˈpres How to pronounce repress (audio)
repressed; repressing; represses

transitive verb

1
a
: to check by or as if by pressure : curb
injustice was repressed
b
: to put down by force : subdue
repress a disturbance
2
a
: to hold in by self-control
repressed a laugh
b
: to prevent the natural or normal expression, activity, or development of
repressed her anger
3
: to exclude from consciousness
repressed the memory of abuse
4
: to inactivate (a gene or formation of a gene product) by allosteric combination at a DNA binding site

intransitive verb

: to take repressive action
repressibility noun
repressible adjective
repressive adjective
repressively adverb
repressiveness noun

re-press

2 of 2

verb (2)

re-pressed; re-pressing; re-presses

transitive verb

: to press again
re-press a record

Examples of repress in a Sentence

Verb (1) Religious groups were severely repressed. quickly repressed the rebellion in the provincial city and restored order
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Here’s your story: the Green Beret coming home, and his wife jumps in his arms … Jess had repressed so much feeling over the years, when Rich was deployed, to stay focused on the mission: keeping the family together. Seyward Darby, Longreads, 25 Mar. 2024 The two allies are seeking to send a strong message to Beijing that malicious cyber activities that endanger national security and seek to repress dissidents abroad are unacceptable and violate international norms, U.S. and British officials said. Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2024 Nevertheless, until early 1945, Labor Zionism’s military wing, the Haganah, repressed the terrorist organization Irgun. Frederick Kaufman, Harper's Magazine, 26 Feb. 2024 Having a therapist became an outlet for the musician, who also details repressed grief and trauma throughout the documentary. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 29 Feb. 2024 But repressing every appetite turns out to be painful for Greg and impossible for GJ, an addict whose own desires have eaten him alive. Emma Copley Eisenberg, The Atlantic, 23 Jan. 2024 In a sign of how the conversation has shifted, Billie Jean King, who began the fight for equal pay for women in sports in the 1970s, has said bringing the sport to the kingdom might not be all bad despite its long record of repressing women’s rights. Eddie Pells, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Dec. 2023 Prosecutors have always had an outsize degree of discretion in our criminal legal system, and have always been an integral part of repressing progressive protest movements. Jenna Ruddock, The New Republic, 25 Sep. 2023 Healthy compartmentalization involves regulating your emotions while unhealthy compartmentalizing means repressing them. Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024
Verb
Five years later, the album was re-pressed on vinyl. Nina Corcoran, Pitchfork, 20 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'repress.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French represser, from Latin repressus, past participle of reprimere to check, from re- + premere to press — more at press

First Known Use

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of repress was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near repress

Cite this Entry

“Repress.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/repress. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

repress

verb
re·​press ri-ˈpres How to pronounce repress (audio)
1
a
: to check by or as if by pressure
injustice was repressed
b
: to put down by force : subdue
2
a
: to hold in by self-control
repressed a laugh
b
: to prevent the natural or normal expression, activity, or development of
repress one's anger
3
: to shut out of consciousness
repressed a painful past
repressible adjective
repressive adjective

Medical Definition

repress

transitive verb
re·​press ri-ˈpres How to pronounce repress (audio)
1
: to exclude from consciousness
repress conflicts
2
: to inactivate (a gene or formation of a gene product) by allosteric combination at a DNA binding site

More from Merriam-Webster on repress

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