Definition of oppressive in US English:

oppressive

adjective

  • 1Unjustly inflicting hardship and constraint, especially on a minority or other subordinate group.

    ‘an oppressive dictatorship’
    • ‘People take their future into their own hands and rebel against an oppressive authority.’
    • ‘They are willing to espouse the most oppressive dictatorship on earth just to be different!’
    • ‘Your great State has never experienced the misfortune of being occupied, and Australians never had to flee from an oppressive dictatorship.’
    • ‘U.S. juries have a proud and heroic tradition of standing up to tyranny and saying no to oppressive, unjust, or misapplied laws.’
    • ‘I hated the unjust, oppressive system so, in my twenties, I fled the country illegally to seek truth and freedom in the West.’
    • ‘Whatever oppressive tactics the authorities use, we should not let them stop us protesting and expressing our anger about their atrocities.’
    • ‘It's ironic that so many people use a patriarchal and racist ideology to critique what they think is an engine of oppressive authority.’
    • ‘If they are made to work, and are chastised, but stinted of their food, such treatment is oppressive, and saps their strength.’
    • ‘I could give you hundreds of examples of local communities that have been just as oppressive and unjust as nation states.’
    • ‘Does the coercive and oppressive treatment of weaving children differ only by degree from the treatment of all carpet weavers?’
    • ‘He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime.’
    • ‘They found government harsh and oppressive, complaining of the disparities between the rich and poor.’
    • ‘In many cases oppressive authorities actively prevent normal migration processing from occurring.’
    • ‘We would be tragic heroes, battling the unjustness of an oppressive society.’
    • ‘No, this won't be a naval skirmish with some oppressive foreign dictator.’
    • ‘It is no longer possible for the surrounding dictatorships to defend their oppressive ways as the immutable order of things.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Unless supplemented and constrained by minority rights, state nation-building is likely to be oppressive and unjust.’
    • ‘Examples of the oppressive and repressive treatment of women abound.’
    • ‘Women's home life was oppressive and harsh even among the better classes.’
    harsh, cruel, brutal, repressive, crushing, tyrannical, tyrannous, iron-fisted, domineering, autocratic, dictatorial, undemocratic, anti-democratic, despotic, draconian, punitive
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    1. 1.1 Weighing heavily on the mind or spirits; causing depression or discomfort.
      ‘a profound loneliness, an oppressive emptiness’
      • ‘Composed shortly after The Turn of the Screw, the Canticle shares that opera's claustrophobic, oppressive atmosphere.’
      • ‘The building radiated an oppressive atmosphere, loaded with the anguish of men and women facing death.’
      • ‘Also, one has to brave crowds of tourists, loud music and a generally oppressive high-tech atmosphere to get to the classical section.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There was an oppressive atmosphere in the room.’
      • ‘There is very little dialogue in the film, furthering the, at times, oppressive silence weighing upon the viewer.’
      • ‘Wig also found that, on top of the normal pressure of call center work, the atmosphere was very oppressive.’
      • ‘The same oppressive atmosphere pervades the town of Soham.’
      • ‘And that oppressive atmosphere is reinforced even by absence.’
      • ‘Critics and audiences alike reviled it for its oppressive atmosphere and the direction in which it took the Alien franchise.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When Dan Parks dropped a goal for a 12-6 lead in the 57th minute, an already seething atmosphere became oppressive.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And in one very long day, these characters are about to enter the autumn of their lives with an oppressive weight on their shoulders.’
      • ‘This brought a heavily oppressive silence into the room.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The feeling that we have to sort it all out in our minds and make judgments about it can be quite oppressive.’
      • ‘David Parry, conducting, takes the score slowly, generating an atmosphere of oppressive malignancy.’
      • ‘Sometimes, perhaps, the vastness of sky was oppressive in the way wilderness weighed on McGregor's Canadians.’
      • ‘However, in another few seconds, they were silent again and the oppressive atmosphere returned.’
      overwhelming, overpowering, hard to bear, unbearable, burdensome, unendurable, intolerable, heavy
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    2. 1.2 (of weather) excessively hot and humid.
      • ‘You want to come stay in Tel Aviv one of these days, now that's oppressive weather.’
      • ‘The course, as always, was immaculately presented and the weather was oppressive on the first day and overcast for the second round.’
      • ‘The oppressive weather we've had this past week makes me want to sleep all day.’
      • ‘Many prisoners, suffocating under the oppressive heat, fainted.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One can easily imagine the oppressive heat being dispelled by a sudden smattering of rain, as an iron smoothes a wrinkled cloth.’
      • ‘The heat was beginning, to be oppressive, but as we got closer to the river, the fields became more and more verdant.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was stuffy and confined, muggy and stagnant, thick and oppressive.’
      • ‘Summer's spiritual hardships are manifest through the oppressive summer heat.’
      • ‘Freak hailstorms will victimize the prairies while oppressive heat waves cook southern Ontario.’
      • ‘On a summer evening, a swab of jasmine or khus lifts your spirits in the oppressive heat of Northern India.’
      • ‘Some people love hot weather, but I find it oppressive and stifling and generally unpleasant.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Fog, wet and oppressive, like gauze on a camera lens, softens edges off in the distance.’
      • ‘Beneath the hot and sticky oppressive atmosphere of the venue, Jon pushed his way past the bobbing bodies toward the bar.’
      muggy, close, heavy, hot, humid, sticky, steamy, soupy, fuggy, airless, stuffy, stifling, suffocating, sultry, torrid
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Origin

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

Pronunciation

oppressive

/əˈprɛsɪv//əˈpresiv/