repression

noun

re·​pres·​sion ri-ˈpre-shən How to pronounce repression (audio)
1
a
: the action or process of repressing : the state of being repressed
repression of unpopular opinions
b
: an instance of repressing
racial repressions
2
a
: a mental process by which distressing thoughts, memories, or impulses that may give rise to anxiety are excluded from consciousness and left to operate in the unconscious
b
: an item so excluded
repressionist adjective

Example Sentences

the state's repression of its citizens They survived 60 years of political repression.
Recent Examples on the Web Migrants have been crossing the border in record numbers in recent months, many of them fleeing repression, crime and poverty in their home countries. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, 20 Jan. 2023 As a result of conflict, repression, economic circumstances, famine, and drought, more than two million people have tried to cross the Mediterranean to Europe since 2014, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Alexis Okeowo, The New Yorker, 9 Jan. 2023 The opposition is split over how to face down political repression, which is a chronic challenge, according to the U.N. report published this fall. Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Dec. 2022 For the past three centuries, Russia has been the dominant power in the region, and Ukrainian artists and intellectuals have struggled to keep their language and culture alive despite repression, starvation and war. Reagan Upshaw, Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2022 Authorities reacted with repression, such as state violence or detention, in around a quarter of the cases documented by Freedom House. Sha Hua And Josh Chin, WSJ, 2 Dec. 2022 While there are other grievances at play—not least suffocating social restrictions, a collapsing economy, and widespread repression—their opposition to the regime is shared. Yasmeen Serhan, Time, 10 Nov. 2022 The whole world loves ABBA, but England especially, because of the repression (see above). James Parker, The Atlantic, 14 Oct. 2022 The Queen’s death prompted mixed reactions in former British colonies across Africa and Asia, with many pointing out that the royal family symbolized a legacy of exploitation, repression, and white supremacy. Yvonne Lau, Fortune, 13 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'repression.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of repression was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near repression

Cite this Entry

“Repression.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/repression. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

repression

noun
re·​pres·​sion ri-ˈpresh-ən How to pronounce repression (audio)
1
: the act of repressing : the state of being repressed
2
: a process of the mind by which painful or disturbing thoughts or desires are kept from conscious awareness

Medical Definition

repression

noun
re·​pres·​sion ri-ˈpresh-ən How to pronounce repression (audio)
1
: the action or process of repressing
gene repression
2
a
: a process by which unacceptable desires or impulses are excluded from consciousness and left to operate in the unconscious compare suppression sense c
b
: an item so excluded

More from Merriam-Webster on repression

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