Definition of oppressive in English:

oppressive

adjective

  • 1Inflicting harsh and authoritarian treatment.

    ‘an oppressive dictatorship’
    • ‘Whatever oppressive tactics the authorities use, we should not let them stop us protesting and expressing our anger about their atrocities.’
    • ‘People take their future into their own hands and rebel against an oppressive authority.’
    • ‘I hated the unjust, oppressive system so, in my twenties, I fled the country illegally to seek truth and freedom in the West.’
    • ‘Examples of the oppressive and repressive treatment of women abound.’
    • ‘U.S. juries have a proud and heroic tradition of standing up to tyranny and saying no to oppressive, unjust, or misapplied laws.’
    • ‘Your great State has never experienced the misfortune of being occupied, and Australians never had to flee from an oppressive dictatorship.’
    • ‘It's ironic that so many people use a patriarchal and racist ideology to critique what they think is an engine of oppressive authority.’
    • ‘I could give you hundreds of examples of local communities that have been just as oppressive and unjust as nation states.’
    • ‘They found government harsh and oppressive, complaining of the disparities between the rich and poor.’
    • ‘Does the coercive and oppressive treatment of weaving children differ only by degree from the treatment of all carpet weavers?’
    • ‘He threw out an estimate that perhaps two cents from every litre of gas we buy goes to support a dictatorship or other oppressive forms of government.’
    • ‘Women's home life was oppressive and harsh even among the better classes.’
    • ‘He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime.’
    • ‘They are willing to espouse the most oppressive dictatorship on earth just to be different!’
    • ‘We would be tragic heroes, battling the unjustness of an oppressive society.’
    • ‘If they are made to work, and are chastised, but stinted of their food, such treatment is oppressive, and saps their strength.’
    • ‘In many cases oppressive authorities actively prevent normal migration processing from occurring.’
    • ‘It is no longer possible for the surrounding dictatorships to defend their oppressive ways as the immutable order of things.’
    • ‘No, this won't be a naval skirmish with some oppressive foreign dictator.’
    • ‘Unless supplemented and constrained by minority rights, state nation-building is likely to be oppressive and unjust.’
    harsh, cruel, brutal, repressive, crushing, tyrannical, tyrannous, iron-fisted, domineering, autocratic, dictatorial, undemocratic, anti-democratic, despotic, draconian, punitive
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Weighing heavily on the mind or spirits.
      ‘the offices present an oppressive atmosphere’
      • ‘The building radiated an oppressive atmosphere, loaded with the anguish of men and women facing death.’
      • ‘It may feel somewhat oppressive for those readers who don't mind a crazy wife in the attic but ultimately prefer to see intelligent love conquer all.’
      • ‘In fact, not a lot happens at all in the first book, it mostly just introduces the main characters and sets up the oppressive atmosphere of the castle.’
      • ‘However, in another few seconds, they were silent again and the oppressive atmosphere returned.’
      • ‘David Parry, conducting, takes the score slowly, generating an atmosphere of oppressive malignancy.’
      • ‘This brought a heavily oppressive silence into the room.’
      • ‘Composed shortly after The Turn of the Screw, the Canticle shares that opera's claustrophobic, oppressive atmosphere.’
      • ‘The feeling that we have to sort it all out in our minds and make judgments about it can be quite oppressive.’
      • ‘Critics and audiences alike reviled it for its oppressive atmosphere and the direction in which it took the Alien franchise.’
      • ‘When Hetty gets the good news, she packs a rucksack full of books and heads for Wordsworth country to escape the oppressive atmosphere at home.’
      • ‘And that oppressive atmosphere is reinforced even by absence.’
      • ‘The same oppressive atmosphere pervades the town of Soham.’
      • ‘Sometimes, perhaps, the vastness of sky was oppressive in the way wilderness weighed on McGregor's Canadians.’
      • ‘There was an oppressive atmosphere in the room.’
      • ‘Wig also found that, on top of the normal pressure of call center work, the atmosphere was very oppressive.’
      • ‘Wentworth had a threateningly dark and oppressive atmosphere whereas I can honestly say I've been in scarier factory canteens than the one at Larkhall.’
      • ‘Also, one has to brave crowds of tourists, loud music and a generally oppressive high-tech atmosphere to get to the classical section.’
      • ‘And in one very long day, these characters are about to enter the autumn of their lives with an oppressive weight on their shoulders.’
      • ‘When Dan Parks dropped a goal for a 12-6 lead in the 57th minute, an already seething atmosphere became oppressive.’
      • ‘There is very little dialogue in the film, furthering the, at times, oppressive silence weighing upon the viewer.’
      overwhelming, overpowering, hard to bear, unbearable, burdensome, unendurable, intolerable, heavy
      View synonyms
  • 2(of weather) close and sultry.

    ‘the day was sunless and oppressive’
    • ‘Freak hailstorms will victimize the prairies while oppressive heat waves cook southern Ontario.’
    • ‘Many prisoners, suffocating under the oppressive heat, fainted.’
    • ‘Summer's spiritual hardships are manifest through the oppressive summer heat.’
    • ‘All the Tests lasted a full five days and were attended by a sizeable crowd despite stifling security, oppressive weather and poor facilities at the venues.’
    • ‘Be prepared for more oppressive heat during the next two months as the dry weather will likely continue before entering the transition to the rainy season.’
    • ‘Beneath the hot and sticky oppressive atmosphere of the venue, Jon pushed his way past the bobbing bodies toward the bar.’
    • ‘The sun rose, becoming oppressive as we traveled through the chain of islands.’
    • ‘The collecting itch urged Smith further and further afield, helped along by Houston's oppressive summer weather.’
    • ‘The oppressive weather we've had this past week makes me want to sleep all day.’
    • ‘We had left the oppressive flat humidity of Lima at dawn, rising through the low cloud that seemed to hang permanently over the city, as if entering a second sky.’
    • ‘The occasional heavy downpour keeps the oppressive humidity at bay, and lessens the sense that we're walking through a steam room.’
    • ‘The heat was beginning, to be oppressive, but as we got closer to the river, the fields became more and more verdant.’
    • ‘The course, as always, was immaculately presented and the weather was oppressive on the first day and overcast for the second round.’
    • ‘It was stuffy and confined, muggy and stagnant, thick and oppressive.’
    • ‘Dolly and I had a grand siesta right through the oppressive heat of the afternoon, waking to find the early evening cooler and more pleasant altogether.’
    • ‘Some people love hot weather, but I find it oppressive and stifling and generally unpleasant.’
    • ‘One can easily imagine the oppressive heat being dispelled by a sudden smattering of rain, as an iron smoothes a wrinkled cloth.’
    • ‘Fog, wet and oppressive, like gauze on a camera lens, softens edges off in the distance.’
    • ‘You want to come stay in Tel Aviv one of these days, now that's oppressive weather.’
    • ‘On a summer evening, a swab of jasmine or khus lifts your spirits in the oppressive heat of Northern India.’
    muggy, close, heavy, hot, humid, sticky, steamy, soupy, fuggy, airless, stuffy, stifling, suffocating, sultry, torrid
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 16th century: from medieval Latin oppressivus, from oppress- ‘pressed against’, from the verb opprimere (see oppress).

Pronunciation

oppressive

/əˈprɛsɪv/