From Middle English oppressen, from Old French oppresser, from Medieval Latin oppressare (“to press against, oppress”), frequentative of Latin opprimere, past participle oppressus (“to press against, press together, oppress”), from ob (“against”) + premere, past participle pressus (“to press”); see press.
- Rhymes: -ɛs
- (obsolete) Physically to press down on (someone) with harmful effects; to smother, crush.
- (transitive) To keep down by force
The rural poor were oppressed by the land-owners.
- (transitive) To make sad or gloomy
We were oppressed by the constant grey skies.
- oppress in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- oppress in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911