- 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
Synonyms for oppressSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Antonyms for oppress
Related Words for oppressorautocrat, despot, authoritarian, bully, dictator, taskmaster, martinet, persecutor
Examples from the Web for oppressor
Contemporary Examples of oppressor
In order to be elusive and to have longevity, the oppressor has learned to kill MEN while their bodies remain alive.
So many of you ARE MEN but you got trapped by the oppressor.
This man, your oppressor, is automatically morally defeated, and if he has any conscience, he is ashamed.Alex Haley’s 1965 Playboy Interview with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
January 19, 2014
When you have a cause, the best way to express yourself is artistically,” he says, against “the scissor of the oppressor.Hani Abbas Extends the Vital Tradition of Political Cartooning in the Mideast
October 20, 2013
In essence, a no-fly zone takes away a single tool of violence—the use of aviation—possessed by the oppressor.How Not To Intervene In Syria
May 3, 2013
Historical Examples of oppressor
With tears rolling down her cheeks the victim points to her oppressor.Lotus Buds
"And yet we used to prevail against the oppressor," he concluded, proudly.Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard
"It is the sacred right of the citizen to oppress the oppressor," chimed Jude.The False Chevalier
William Douw Lighthall
You, when smitten on the right cheek, turned unto the oppressor the left.Memoirs
Charles Godfrey Leland
I reck not what ye say, so I win your lady sister from her oppressor.'King Arthur's Knights
- 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 for oppress
c.1400, from Old French opresseor, from Latin oppressor, from opprimere (see oppress (v.)).
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.