Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective oppressive contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of oppressive are burdensome, exacting, and onerous. While all these words mean "imposing hardship," oppressive implies extreme harshness or severity in what is imposed.

the oppressive tyranny of a police state

When can burdensome be used instead of oppressive?

In some situations, the words burdensome and oppressive are roughly equivalent. However, burdensome suggests causing mental as well as physical strain.

burdensome responsibilities

When would exacting be a good substitute for oppressive?

While the synonyms exacting and oppressive are close in meaning, exacting implies rigor or sternness rather than tyranny or injustice in the demands made or in the one demanding.

an exacting employer

Where would onerous be a reasonable alternative to oppressive?

The words onerous and oppressive are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, onerous stresses being laborious and heavy especially because distasteful.

the onerous task of cleaning up the mess

Thesaurus Entries Near oppressive

Cite this Entry

“Oppressive.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/oppressive. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

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