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[uh-pres-iv] /əˈprɛs ɪv/
burdensome, unjustly harsh, or tyrannical:
an oppressive king; oppressive laws.
causing discomfort by being excessive, intense, elaborate, etc.:
oppressive heat.
distressing or grievous:
oppressive sorrows.
Origin of oppressive
1620-30; < Medieval Latin oppresīvus, equivalent to oppress(us) (see oppress) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
oppressively, adverb
oppressiveness, noun
nonoppressive, adjective
nonoppressively, adverb
nonoppressiveness, noun
self-oppressive, adjective
unoppressive, adjective
unoppressively, adverb
unoppressiveness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for oppressively
Historical Examples
  • They were on the lawn taking the cool of the evening after an oppressively hot day.

    Mistress Wilding Rafael Sabatini
  • Nevertheless, with the place crowded the atmosphere was oppressively hot.

    The White Lie William Le Queux
  • The room was oppressively quiet, walled in by the thick sod from the storm.

  • By this time it is nearly five o'clock, and as yet oppressively warm.

    Molly Bawn Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
  • Here, where the winter cold is so piercing, it is oppressively hot in summer.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin
  • Why has he made me so often oppressively feel his superiority?

    The Home Fredrika Bremer
  • It was oppressively hot, and Peter had been riding all the previous night.

    Peter and Jane

    S. (Sarah) Macnaughtan
  • She would be lifeless and oppressively good-mannered, he felt certain.

    The Windy Hill Cornelia Meigs
  • He knew and felt most oppressively that everything almost was against him.

    Amos Huntingdon T.P. Wilson
  • The dinner was beautifully cooked and served, and was not oppressively long.

    Home Life in Germany Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick
British Dictionary definitions for oppressively


cruel, harsh, or tyrannical
heavy, constricting, or depressing
Derived Forms
oppressively, adverb
oppressiveness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for oppressively



1640s, from Medieval Latin oppressivus, from oppress-, past participle stem of opprimere (see oppress). Related: Oppressively; oppressiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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