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.
- op·pres·sive·ly, adverb
- op·pres·sive·ness, noun
- non·op·pres·sive, adjective
- non·op·pres·sive·ly, adverb
- non·op·pres·sive·ness, noun
- self-op·pres·sive, adjective
- un·op·pres·sive, adjective
- un·op·pres·sive·ly, adverb
- un·op·pres·sive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use oppressive in a sentence
When that outdoor environment becomes oppressive and you have a culture that’s not equipped to spend our days inside in air conditioning, that really throws us a curveball.In America’s least air-conditioned cities, brutal heat changes some people’s minds | Marc Fisher, Carissa Wolf, Michael Hingston | July 22, 2021 | Washington Post
While the summer heat can undoubtedly feel oppressive at times, there’s no reason why you can’t grab one of the best portable fans out there to make things more bearable, especially if you know which factors to prioritize.Best portable fans: Stay chill on a hot day with a cooling personal fan | Irena Collaku | July 21, 2021 | Popular-Science
Humidity may turn oppressive, with low temperatures easily holding in the upper 60s to mid-70s by sunrise.D.C.-area forecast: Scattered late-day storms, then a more pleasant start to the weekend | A. Camden Walker | July 9, 2021 | Washington Post
Dubai’s ruling family drew international scrutiny in 2018 after the prime minister’s daughter, Princess Latifa, was detained after she was found on board a boat off the coast of India while attempting to flee her family’s oppressive grip.
The failure of the humidity to reach the oppressive levels of many a summer’s day in Washington probably also enhanced the attractions of Tuesday.Among Tuesday’s attractions: It was nothing like our stormy Monday | Martin Weil | June 16, 2021 | Washington Post
Demographic changes are making that community less dogmatic, even through the Castro regime remains an oppressive dictatorship.The Liberation of the Lame Duck: Obama Goes Full Bulworth | John Avlon | December 19, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In other words, markets were impersonal, but that was good, because sometimes personal ties were cruel and oppressive.
And of course there is the truly bad touch that is humiliating, oppressive and often painful.
After all, what can I do about such oppressive policies and actions overseas?
Some of those oppressive systems are found in the Church itself!An Openly Gay Episcopal Bishop Prays for Pope Francis | Gene Robinson | March 16, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Whether advocates and orators had liberty to plead in causes, manifestly known to be unjust, vexatious, or oppressive?Gulliver's Travels | Jonathan Swift
oppressive laws compel me to pay a portion of my hard earnings to support them in their pride and indolence.Madame Roland, Makers of History | John S. C. Abbott
The thermometer now ranged between 87 and 89 degrees and the weather was consequently extremely oppressive and sultry.
The majority, no doubt, would gladly retain him; but there were some to whom his presence was oppressive.Skipper Worse | Alexander Lange Kielland
The air is oppressive with tobacco smoke; the boisterous talk of the men playing cards near by annoys me.Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist | Alexander Berkman
British Dictionary definitions for oppressive
cruel, harsh, or tyrannical
heavy, constricting, or depressing
- 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