- to burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints; subject to a burdensome or harsh exercise of authority or power: a people oppressed by totalitarianism.
- to lie heavily upon (the mind, a person, etc.): Care and sorrow oppressed them.
- to weigh down, as sleep or weariness does.
- Archaic. to put down; subdue or suppress.
- Archaic. to press upon or against; crush.
Origin of oppress
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for oppressors
Some, I knew, were already going off to plan the resistance against the American oppressors.I Watched Iraq Fall
Janine di Giovanni
March 17, 2013
And as it grew under its oppressors, so it is found to have crushed them.The Formation of Christendom, Volume VI
Thomas W. (Thomas William) Allies
We have never, thank God, lied to our oppressors by saying we were loyal to them.Ireland as It Is
Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
They are the oppressors of Egypt, but the lions of the desert are not more courageous.At Aboukir and Acre
George Alfred Henty
It is for Kings to carry fire and sword among the oppressors.Diderot and the Encyclopdists
And behold the tears of such as are oppressed; and on the side of their oppressors there was power.Uncle Tom's Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe
- to subjugate by cruelty, force, etc
- to afflict or torment
- to lie heavy on (the mind, imagination, etc)
- an obsolete word for overwhelm
Word Origin and History for oppressors
mid-14c., from Old French opresser "oppress, afflict; torment, smother" (13c.), from Medieval Latin oppressare, frequentative of Latin opprimere "press against, press together, press down;" figuratively "crush, put down, subdue, prosecute relentlessly" (in Late Latin "to rape"), from ob "against" (see ob-) + premere "to press, push" (see press (v.1)).
It is the due [external] restraint and not the moderation of rulers that constitutes a state of liberty; as the power to oppress, though never exercised, does a state of slavery. [St. George Tucker, "View of the Constitution of the United States," 1803]
Related: Oppressed; oppressing.