subjected to, affected by, or characteristic of psychological repression: repressed emotional conflicts.

Origin of repressed

First recorded in 1900–05; repress + -ed2
Related formsnon·re·pressed, adjectiveun·re·pressed, adjective



verb (used with or without object)

to press again or anew.

Origin of re-press

First recorded in 1870–75; re- + press1



verb (used with object)

to keep under control, check, or suppress (desires, feelings, actions, tears, etc.).
to keep down or suppress (anything objectionable).
to put down or quell (sedition, disorder, etc.).
to reduce (persons) to subjection.
Psychoanalysis. to reject (painful or disagreeable ideas, memories, feelings, or impulses) from the conscious mind.

verb (used without object)

to initiate or undergo repression.

Origin of repress

1325–75; Middle English repressen < Latin repressus (past participle of reprimere), equivalent to re- re- + pressus, past participle of primere to press1
Related formsre·press·i·ble, adjectivenon·re·press·i·ble, adjectivenon·re·press·i·ble·ness, nounnon·re·press·i·bly, adverbo·ver·re·press, verb (used with object)un·re·press·i·ble, adjective
Can be confusedoppress repress

Synonyms for repress

Synonym study

1. See check1.

Antonyms for repress

1–4. foster. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for repressed

Contemporary Examples of repressed

Historical Examples of repressed

  • Grant repressed an impulse to shout, and used the breath for an extra burst of speed.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • She was exactly the same as when they had parted, just as handsome, just as scornful, just as repressed.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • His breathing was a little quickened; but he repressed all other signs of agitation.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • But Rawson knew that that slim body was tense with repressed emotion.

    Two Thousand Miles Below

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • Imagine “swell up” from Sandford, the repressed and decorous!

British Dictionary definitions for repressed



(of a person) repressing feelings, instincts, desires, etc


verb (tr)

to keep (feelings, etc) under control; suppress or restrainto repress a desire
to put into a state of subjugationto repress a people
psychoanal to banish (thoughts and impulses that conflict with conventional standards of conduct) from one's conscious mind
Derived Formsrepresser, nounrepressible, adjective

Word Origin for repress

C14: from Latin reprimere to press back, from re- + premere to press 1
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 repressed

1660s, past participle adjective from repress (v.). Psychological sense by 1904.



late 14c., "to check, restrain," from Latin repressus, past participle of reprimere "hold back, curb," figuratively "check, confine, restrain, refrain," from re- "back" (see re-) + premere "to push" (see press (v.1)).

Used of feelings or desires from late 14c.; in the purely psychological sense, it represents German verdrängen (Freud, 1893), first attested 1904 (implied in repressed). Meaning "to put down" (a rebellion, etc.) is from late 15c. Related: Repressed; repressing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

repressed in Medicine




Being subjected to or characterized by repression.




To hold back by an act of volition.
To exclude something from the conscious mind.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.