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[uh-presh-uh n] /əˈprɛʃ ən/
the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.
an act or instance of oppressing.
the state of being oppressed.
the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.
Origin of oppression
1300-50; Middle English oppressioun < Middle French < Latin oppressiōn- (stem of oppressiō) a pressing down, equivalent to oppress(us) (see oppress) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
nonoppression, noun
preoppression, noun
self-oppression, noun
1. tyranny, despotism, persecution. 3, 4. hardship, suffering.
1. kindness, justice. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for oppression
  • The media focus solely on poverty and the cycle of oppression.
  • Millions more are agricultural workers trapped in an inescapable cycle of extreme poverty, illiteracy, and oppression.
  • Why don't you get a decent job that doesn't involve the oppression of intelligent mammals.
  • The fear was that they'd be used as tools of oppression.
  • Remember, this is a state that has lived through forty plus years of hellish oppression.
  • In particular, there was fraud and cozenage in the law, injustice and oppression.
  • The oppression of the thought that all feeling was dead within me, was gone.
  • The people had been living under oppression for fourteen years.
  • Centuries of oppression have built centuries of resentment.
  • oppression and the violence it spawns have destroyed many, but by no means all.
British Dictionary definitions for oppression


the act of subjugating by cruelty, force, etc or the state of being subjugated in this way
the condition of being afflicted or tormented
the condition of having something lying heavily on one's mind, imagination, etc
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
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Word Origin and History for oppression

mid-14c., "cruel or unjust use of power or authority," from Old French opression (12c.), from Latin oppressionem (nominative oppressio) "a pressing down; violence, oppression," noun of action from past participle stem of opprimere (see oppress). Meaning "action of weighing on someone's mind or spirits" is from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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