- The definition of oppress is to keep something down using cruel or unjust power.
An example of oppress is for a dictator to force the poor people of his country to work in terrible conditions for little pay.
- To oppress is to have something worry you or weigh you down.
An example of oppress is to have worry that you might be laid off from your job.
- to weigh heavily on the mind, spirits, or senses of; worry; trouble
- to keep down by the cruel or unjust use of power or authority; rule harshly; tyrannize over
- to crush; trample down
- to overpower; subdue
Origin of oppressMiddle English oppressen ; from Old French oppresser ; from Medieval Latin oppressare ; from Classical Latin oppressus, past participle of opprimere, to press against ; from ob- (see ob-) + premere, press
transitive verbop·pressed, op·press·ing, op·press·es
- To keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority: a people who were oppressed by tyranny.
- To cause to feel worried or depressed: “People were at a loss &ellipsis; oppressed by the atmosphere of the dead man's room” (Ward Just).
- Obsolete To overwhelm or crush.
Origin of oppressMiddle English oppressen, from Old French opresser, back-formation from oppression, oppression, from Latin oppressiō, oppressiōn-, from oppressus, past participle of opprimere, to press against : ob-, against; see ob– + premere, to press; see per-4 in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present oppresses, present participle oppressing, simple past and past participle oppressed)
From Middle English oppressen, from Old French oppresser, from Medieval Latin oppressare (â€œto press against, oppressâ€), frequentive of Latin opprimere, past participle oppressus (â€œto press against, press together, oppressâ€), from ob (â€œagainstâ€) + premere, past participle pressus (â€œto pressâ€); see press.