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From Middle English oppression, from Old French oppression, from Latin oppressiō (a pressing down, violence, oppression), from opprimō; see oppress.


  • IPA(key): /əˈpɹɛʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛʃən
  • Hyphenation: op‧pres‧sion


oppression (countable and uncountable, plural oppressions)

  1. The exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.
    • (Can we date this quote by Sir Walter Raleigh and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      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.

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oppression f (plural oppressions)

  1. oppression
  2. (Louisiana) asthma