When Stacey was offered the position, she tried to repress her exuberance because she didn't want to appear unprofessional.
- When you keep someone from expressing any dissent, this is an example of a situation where you repress the person.
- When you prevent yourself from showing your happiness, this is an example of a situation where you repress your happiness.
- When you will not allow yourself to think about a given event, this is an example of a situation where you repress the event.
- to keep down or hold back; restrain: to repress a sigh
- to put down; subdue
- to control so strictly or severely as to prevent the natural development or expression of: to repress a child
- to force (ideas, impulses, etc. painful to the conscious mind) into the unconscious
- to prevent (unconscious ideas, impulses, etc.) from reaching the level of consciousness
Origin of repressMiddle English repressen from Classical Latin repressus, past participle of reprimere: see re- and press
verbre·pressed, re·press·ing, re·press·es
- To hold back or prevent by an act of volition: couldn't repress a smirk.
- a. To put down or subdue by force: repress a rebellion.b. To end, limit, or restrain, as by intimidation or other action: repress a heresy; repress inflation.
- Psychology To exclude (painful or disturbing memories, for example) automatically or unconsciously from the conscious mind.
- Biology a. To prevent (the transcription of a gene or the synthesis of a protein) by the combination of a protein with an operator gene.b. To prevent or limit the synthesis of (a protein).
Origin of repressMiddle English repressen from Latin reprimere repress- re- re- premere to press ; see per-4 in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: Repress and suppress have similar meanings, but there are subtle differences that are worth paying attention to. Both share the general sense of holding back or subduing something, but repress suggests keeping something under control to maintain or regulate order, while suppress suggests a more active curtailment, an active fight against an opposing force. Thus, The government repressed the rebellion implies that the government always maintained control and that the rebellious forces never posed a serious threat to governmental power before being put down, while The government suppressed the rebellion suggests that a significant rebellion was under way and that the government had to react strongly to put an end to it. Similarly, one might repress (rather than suppress ) a smirk in order to maintain a serious appearance, and one would take a medicine that suppresses (rather than represses ) a cough in order to reduce its severity. • Both words also see use in psychology, and here a similar distinction prevails. Repress generally means “to exclude painful or disturbing memories automatically or unconsciously from the conscious mind.” Suppress means “to exclude unacceptable desires or thoughts deliberately from the mind.” Using repress to express a conscious effort, as in For years he tried to repress his frightful memories, is thus incorrect.
- The act of repressing.
(third-person singular simple present represses, present participle repressing, simple past and past participle repressed)