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From Middle English oppressen, from Old French oppresser, from Medieval Latin oppressare ‎(to press against, oppress), frequentive of Latin opprimere, past participle oppressus ‎(to press against, press together, oppress), from ob ‎(against) + premere, past participle pressus ‎(to press); see press.



oppress ‎(third-person singular simple present oppresses, present participle oppressing, simple past and past participle oppressed)

  1. (obsolete) Physically to press down on (someone) with harmful effects; to smother, crush.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.x:
      Most mercilesse of women, VVyden hight, / Her other sonne fast sleeping did oppresse, / And with most cruell hand him murdred pittilesse.
  2. (transitive) To keep down by force
    The rural poor were oppressed by the land-owners.
  3. (transitive) To make sad or gloomy
    We were oppressed by the constant grey skies.

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