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From Middle English oppression, from Old French oppression, from Latin oppressio (a pressing down, violence, oppression), from opprimere, past participle oppressus (to press down); see oppress.


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oppression (countable and uncountable, plural oppressions)

  1. The exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.
    • Sir Walter Raleigh
      Oh, by what plots, by what forswearings, betrayings, oppressions, imprisonments, tortures, poisonings, and under what reasons of state and politic subtilty, have these forenamed kings [] pulled the vengeance of God upon themselves []
  2. The act of oppressing, or the state of being oppressed.
    The oppression of the poor by the aristocracy was one cause of the French Revolution.
  3. A feeling of being oppressed.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      […] St. Bede's at this period of its history was perhaps the poorest and most miserable parish in the East End of London. Close-packed, crushed by the buttressed height of the railway viaduct, rendered airless by huge walls of factories, it at once banished lively interest from a stranger's mind and left only a dull oppression of the spirit.
    Our oppression was lifted by the reappearance of the sun.

Related termsEdit


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Further readingEdit




oppression f (plural oppressions)

  1. oppression
  2. (Louisiana) asthma