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.

Origin of oppressive

1620–30; < Medieval Latin oppresīvus, equivalent to oppress(us) (see oppress) + -īvus -ive
Related formsop·pres·sive·ly, adverbop·pres·sive·ness, nounnon·op·pres·sive, adjectivenon·op·pres·sive·ly, adverbnon·op·pres·sive·ness, nounself-op·pres·sive, adjectiveun·op·pres·sive, adjectiveun·op·pres·sive·ly, adverbun·op·pres·sive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for oppressively

brutally, hard, harshly, restrictively, tyrannically

Examples from the Web for oppressively

Historical Examples of oppressively

  • They were on the lawn taking the cool of the evening after an oppressively hot day.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Nevertheless, with the place crowded the atmosphere was oppressively hot.

    The White Lie

    William Le Queux

  • The room was oppressively quiet, walled in by the thick sod from the storm.

  • By this time it is nearly five o'clock, and as yet oppressively warm.

    Molly Bawn

    Margaret Wolfe Hamilton

  • Here, where the winter cold is so piercing, it is oppressively hot in summer.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin

British Dictionary definitions for oppressively



cruel, harsh, or tyrannical
heavy, constricting, or depressing
Derived Formsoppressively, adverboppressiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for oppressively



1640s, from Medieval Latin oppressivus, from oppress-, past participle stem of opprimere (see oppress). Related: Oppressively; oppressiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper