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See more synonyms for repressive on Thesaurus.com
  1. tending or serving to repress: repressive laws.
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Origin of repressive

1375–1425; late Middle English < Medieval Latin repressīvus < Latin repress(us) (see repress) + -īvus -ive
Related formsre·pres·sive·ly, adverbre·pres·sive·ness, nounnon·re·pres·sive, adjectiveun·re·pres·sive, adjectiveun·re·pres·sive·ly, adverbun·re·pres·sive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for repressive

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It is repressive of freedom, and the reason is that its doctrine is after all no more than negative.

    History of Religion

    Allan Menzies

  • The repressive system may check unruliness, but can never influence for good.

    Criminal Man

    Gina Lombroso-Ferrero

  • But of government only as a directing and repressive power.'

    Socialism As It Is

    William English Walling

  • What he wants to abolish is the repressive, not the productive state.

    A Preface to Politics

    Walter Lippmann

  • It is neither warm nor chill, neither moist nor dry; but it is repressive.

British Dictionary definitions for repressive


  1. acting to control, suppress, or restrain
  2. subjecting people, a society, etc, to a state of subjugation
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Derived Formsrepressively, adverbrepressiveness, 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 repressive


early 15c., from Middle French repressif, from Latin repress-, past participle stem of reprimere (see repress). Related: Repressively.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

repressive in Medicine


  1. Causing or inclined to cause repression.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.