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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 or subjecting to cruel or unjust impositions or restraints.
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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He endeavors to shield himself like the servant with the talent, by charging injustice and oppression on his master.

    Usury Calvin Elliott
  • His self-mastery is the gift of his creator, and oppression, only, can take it away.

  • Distinguished merit will ever rise to oppression, and will draw lustre from reproach.

  • Some sense of oppression, of impending evil, hung over them both.

    The Film of Fear Arnold Fredericks
  • "The Earth is full of oppression and unrighteousness," said the tallest and most powerful of the angels.

    The Spirit of Christmas Henry Van Dyke
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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