- 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 oppressing
But Russia kept getting bigger, mostly by killing, oppressing, and annoying Russians.Russian History Is on Our Side: Putin Will Surely Screw Himself
P. J. O’Rourke
May 11, 2014
What matters for them is less the oppression itself than the nature of the entity doing the oppressing.Why Not Criticize Hamas's Rights Violations?
March 13, 2013
It had oppressed him before, and now again it was oppressing him.The Law-Breakers
A heavy sense of the unkindness of fate was oppressing Mr. Goble.Jill the Reckless
P. G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse
I began to think her innocent, and lost some of the gloom which had been oppressing me.The Old Stone House and Other Stories
Anna Katharine Green
I made an effort to rouse myself—thinking it was sleep that was oppressing me.The Wild Huntress
What is the use of possessing strength if we exercise it in oppressing others?Leslie Ross:
- 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 oppressing
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.