re·​pres·​sion | \ ri-ˈpre-shən How to pronounce repression (audio) \

Definition of repression

1a : the action or process of repressing : the state of being repressed repression of unpopular opinions
b : an instance of repressing racial repressions
2a : 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

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Other Words from repression

repressionist \ ri-​ˈpre-​sh(ə-​)nist How to pronounce repressionist (audio) \ adjective

Examples of repression in a Sentence

the state's repression of its citizens They survived 60 years of political repression.

Recent Examples on the Web

First of all, the Myanmar authorities must dismantle the dehumanizing system of repression facing Rohingya in Rakhine State. Tun Khin, Time, "It's Been Two Years Since 730,000 Rohingya Were Forced to Flee. There's No End in Sight to the Crisis," 25 Aug. 2019 The other really important thing to remember here is that, given the history of colonialism, there has long been incredible repression against political movements here. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "The Frustration Behind Puerto Rico’s Popular Movement," 26 July 2019 There was hope that decades of war might finally come to a close, but dread that under a peace deal the Taliban would return to power and reimpose their brutal repression. David Zucchino, New York Times, "Afghans Glad Trump Stopped Taliban Talks, Even if They Doubt His Explanation," 9 Sep. 2019 The protests were largely peaceful at first, but the regime responded with brutal repression, and the country spun into civil war, with rebels receiving military support from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, "The Moral Logic of Humanitarian Intervention," 9 Sep. 2019 Intense repression and extreme hedonism — neither is great. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chatting with Tony Award winner and TV/film star Laura Benanti as she heads to San Diego," 22 Aug. 2019 The Party uses China’s economy to silence dissent against its brutal repression and to erode the sovereignty of American allies like Taiwan. John Fund, National Review, "American Movie Studios Are Wrong to Appease Chinese Censors," 28 July 2019 His repression of dissidents has poisoned relations with the EU, and choked off opportunities for more trade and investment between Turkey and the giant, rich economy on its doorstep. The Economist, "Opponents of Turkey’s erratic president should try harder," 29 June 2019 But many also criticized China for its current repression, such as surveillance and restricting citizens’ access to information. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "Anniversary of Tiananmen Square bloodshed marked in Westlake Park," 5 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of repression

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

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Statistics for repression

Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

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

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English Language Learners Definition of repression

: the act of using force to control someone or something
: the state of being controlled by force
: the act of not allowing a memory, feeling, or desire to be expressed


re·​pres·​sion | \ ri-ˈpresh-ən How to pronounce repression (audio) \

Medical Definition of repression

1 : the action or process of repressing gene repression
2a : 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

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Comments on repression

What made you want to look up repression? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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