9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uh-pres-iv] /əˈprɛs ɪv/
burdensome, unjustly harsh, or tyrannical:
an oppressive king; oppressive laws.
causing discomfort by being excessive, intense, elaborate, etc.:
oppressive heat.
distressing or grievous:
oppressive sorrows.
Origin of oppressive
1620-30; < Medieval Latin oppresīvus, equivalent to oppress(us) (see oppress) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
oppressively, adverb
oppressiveness, noun
nonoppressive, adjective
nonoppressively, adverb
nonoppressiveness, noun
self-oppressive, adjective
unoppressive, adjective
unoppressively, adverb
unoppressiveness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for oppressive
  • Thornton, who had been trained as a physician but was now trying his hand at architecture, seemed unaware of the oppressive heat.
  • Weather fluctuates between oppressive heat and torrential rain-turning roads into mud wallows.
  • Despite the ice suits, the heat and humidity are oppressive.
  • These outsiders introduce a break from the oppressive shadow cast by the series' ongoing cosmological tug-of-war.
  • oppressive authority and censorship seem increasingly anachronistic amidst the porous borders of the emerging digital era.
  • Expensive colleges need to be more aggressive in ensuring that its graduates are not buried with oppressive debt.
  • Those motives are genocidal and oppressive, rooted in religious doctrine.
  • But the oppressive orthodoxies of nouvelle cuisine concentrate and epitomize much that has gone wrong.
  • Today about half of the people on the planet still live under oppressive regimes.
  • Within moments the air becomes oppressive--hot and curiously thick.
British Dictionary definitions for oppressive


cruel, harsh, or tyrannical
heavy, constricting, or depressing
Derived Forms
oppressively, adverb
oppressiveness, 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
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Word Origin and History for oppressive

1640s, from Medieval Latin oppressivus, from oppress-, past participle stem of opprimere (see oppress). Related: Oppressively; oppressiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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