- 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 for oppress on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for oppressed
She has championed women in countries where they are oppressed through Vital Voices.Women in the World Texas Sneak Peek
October 20, 2014
So much of the fear the media tries to stoke in me is fear of the oppressed underdog lashing out.Of Gamers, Gates, and Disco Demolition: The Roots of Reactionary Rage
October 16, 2014
And if you look at history, women are an oppressed category of people.Joseph Gordon-Levitt on ‘Sin City’ and Why He Considers Himself a Male Feminist
August 14, 2014
It is an astounding thing to behold —everyday Christians putting their lives on the line for an oppressed people.Out and Proud in El Salvador’s Murderous Gangland
July 13, 2014
Like King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed, and the moral necessity of racial justice.Full Text of President Obama's Eulogy for Nelson Mandela
The Daily Beast
December 10, 2013
I was oppressed, grieved, sickened, at the sad presentation of humanity.
He was oppressed with his weariness, and he longed for peace and ease of mind to come to him.Life in London
But the thing that most oppressed her was to see the heart of his father so turned from the youth.Weighed and Wanting
Gaming relieved me from that insuperable listlessness by which I was oppressed.Tales And Novels, Volume 4 (of 10)
We are apt to be fond of any body that will side with us, when oppressed or provoked.Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
- 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 oppressed
late 14c., past participle adjective from oppress.
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.