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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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