verb (1)
re·​press | \ ri-ˈpres How to pronounce repress (audio) \
repressed; repressing; represses

Definition of repress

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to check by or as if by pressure : curb injustice was repressed
b : to put down by force : subdue repress a disturbance
2a : 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


verb (2)
\ (ˌ)rē-ˈpres How to pronounce re-press (audio) \
re-pressed; re-pressing; re-presses

Definition of re-press (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to press again re-press a record

Other Words from repress

Verb (1)

repressibility \ ri-​ˌpre-​sə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce re-press (audio) \ noun
repressible \ ri-​ˈpre-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce re-press (audio) \ adjective
repressive \ ri-​ˈpre-​siv How to pronounce re-press (audio) \ adjective
repressively adverb
repressiveness noun

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 Audiences are meant to identify with Halim, who has been forced to repress his true identity all these years. Peter Debruge, Variety, 5 June 2022 Now 30, the woman said the abuse poisoned later relationships and forced her to repress most of her memories of high school, as those experiences are now inextricably linked with trauma. oregonlive, 2 June 2022 When his family is murdered, he is trained by a mysterious shaman to repress his childish imagination and become an instrument of death. Manori Ravindran, Variety, 9 May 2022 The CEOs were shaped by experiences such as the Arab Spring, where everyday activists used social media services to share their experiences even as governments were trying to repress them. Washington Post, 18 Apr. 2022 Searching for your part in your life’s low ebbs might lead you to repress your own suffering or, worse, compound it. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 19 Apr. 2022 How might her parents react to her digging in the dirt, alongside students, excavating memories that many families spent years trying to repress? Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Apr. 2022 Grant said that from a young age, society expects boys to repress their emotions. NBC News, 29 Mar. 2022 This is, as much as anything, about recognizing that the imposition of media and imposition of imagery – especially in this digital era – restrain us and repress us as much as political and economic forces. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 1 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of repress

Verb (1)

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

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for repress

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

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Time Traveler for repress

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

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Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Repress.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for repress


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

Kids Definition of repress

: to hold in check by or as if by pressure On seeing his haircut, I had to repress a laugh.


transitive verb
re·​press | \ ri-ˈpres How to pronounce repress (audio) \

Medical Definition of repress

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

Nglish: Translation of repress for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of repress for Arabic Speakers


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