oppress (v.) mid-14c., from O.Fr. oppresser (13c.), from M.L. oppressare, frequentative of L. opprimere "press against, crush" (in L.L. "to rape"), from ob "against" + premere "to press, push" (see PRESS (Cf. press) (v.1)).
It is the due [external] restraint and not the moderation of rulers that constitutes a state of liberty; as the power to oppress, though never exercised, does a state of slavery. [St. George Tucker, "View of the Constitution of the United States," 1803]
Related: OPPRESSED (Cf. Oppressed); oppressing.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Oppress — Op*press , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Oppressed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Oppressing}.] [F. oppresser, LL. oppressare, fr. L. oppressus, p. p. of opprimere; ob (see {Ob }) + premere to press. See {Press}.] 1. To impose excessive burdens upon; to overload;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • oppress — index abuse (victimize), badger, bait (harass), brutalize, coerce, constrain (restrain) …   Law dictionary

  • oppress — 1 *depress, weigh Analogous words: *abuse, mistreat, maltreat, ill treat, outrage: *worry, annoy, harass, harry 2 *wrong, persecute, aggrieve Analogous words: * …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • oppress — [v] depress, subdue abuse, afflict, aggrieve, annoy, beat down*, burden, crush, despotize, dishearten, dispirit, distress, encumber, force, handicap, harass, harry, hound*, keep down, maltreat, outrage, overcome, overload, overpower, overthrow,… …   New thesaurus

  • oppress — ► VERB 1) keep in subjection and hardship. 2) cause to feel distressed or anxious. DERIVATIVES oppression noun oppressor noun. ORIGIN Old French oppresser, from Latin opprimere press against …   English terms dictionary

  • oppress — [ə pres′] vt. [ME oppressen < OFr oppresser < ML oppressare < L oppressus, pp. of opprimere, to press against < ob (see OB ) + premere,PRESS1] 1. to weigh heavily on the mind, spirits, or senses of; worry; trouble 2. to keep down by… …   English World dictionary

  • oppress — oppressible, adj. oppressor, n. /euh pres /, v.t. 1. to burden with cruel or unjust impositions or restraints; subject to a burdensome or harsh exercise of authority or power: a people oppressed by totalitarianism. 2. to lie heavily upon (the… …   Universalium

  • oppress — UK [əˈpres] / US verb [transitive, often passive] Word forms oppress : present tense I/you/we/they oppress he/she/it oppresses present participle oppressing past tense oppressed past participle oppressed 1) to treat people who are less powerful… …   English dictionary

  • oppress — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) v. t. persecute, burden, crush, afflict, grieve, load, de press; overbear, compress, overtax, overburden; tyrannize. See malevolence, badness, severity, subjection, wrong. II (Roget s IV) v. Syn. trouble …   English dictionary for students

  • oppress — [[t]əpre̱s[/t]] oppresses, oppressing, oppressed 1) VERB To oppress people means to treat them cruelly, or to prevent them from having the same opportunities, freedom, and benefits as others. [be V ed] These people often are oppressed by the… …   English dictionary

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