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[ri-pres] /rɪˈprɛs/
verb (used with object)
to keep under control, check, or suppress (desires, feelings, actions, tears, etc.).
to keep down or suppress (anything objectionable).
to put down or quell (sedition, disorder, etc.).
to reduce (persons) to subjection.
Psychoanalysis. to reject (painful or disagreeable ideas, memories, feelings, or impulses) from the conscious mind.
verb (used without object)
to initiate or undergo repression.
Origin of repress
1325-75; Middle English repressen < Latin repressus (past participle of reprimere), equivalent to re- re- + pressus, past participle of primere to press1
Related forms
repressible, adjective
nonrepressible, adjective
nonrepressibleness, noun
nonrepressibly, adverb
overrepress, verb (used with object)
unrepressible, adjective
Can be confused
oppress, repress.
1. bridle, control. 3. subdue, quash. 4. crush.
1–4. foster.
Synonym Study
1. See check1.


[ree-pres] /ˈriˈprɛs/
verb (used with or without object)
to press again or anew.
First recorded in 1870-75; re- + press1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for repress
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was quite unable to repress a vulgar interest in the menials that served her.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • The older man could not repress a cold smile—it had had more effect than he had hoped.

    The Monster Men Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • At the sight of it Frank could not repress an exclamation of astonishment.

    Frank Roscoe's Secret Allen Chapman
  • She was unable to repress a glance of admiration at me as she moved off.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • Struggling to repress my tears, I said no more, but passed out, cut to the heart.

    The First Violin Jessie Fothergill
British Dictionary definitions for repress


verb (transitive)
to keep (feelings, etc) under control; suppress or restrain: to repress a desire
to put into a state of subjugation: to repress a people
(psychoanal) to banish (thoughts and impulses that conflict with conventional standards of conduct) from one's conscious mind
Derived Forms
represser, noun
repressible, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin reprimere to press back, from re- + premere to press1
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 repress

late 14c., "to check, restrain," from Latin repressus, past participle of reprimere "hold back, curb," figuratively "check, confine, restrain, refrain," from re- "back" (see re-) + premere "to push" (see press (v.1)).

Used of feelings or desires from late 14c.; in the purely psychological sense, it represents German verdrängen (Freud, 1893), first attested 1904 (implied in repressed). Meaning "to put down" (a rebellion, etc.) is from late 15c. Related: Repressed; repressing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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repress in Medicine

repress re·press (rĭ-prěs')
v. re·pressed, re·press·ing, re·press·es

  1. To hold back by an act of volition.

  2. To exclude something from the conscious mind.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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