Definition of repressive in US English:



  • 1(especially of a social or political system) inhibiting or restraining the freedom of a person or group of people.

    ‘a repressive regime’
    • ‘The other side of the coin is the individual's right to personal privacy and the right, of say human rights activists, to communicate online without fear of reprisals from repressive regimes needs to be protected.’
    • ‘Reprehensible, too, were the succession of Cold War alliances with repressive but anti-Soviet regimes.’
    • ‘France was ruled by an absolutist monarchy and dominated by a repressive mercantilist economic policy regime.’
    • ‘They ask, rather, that we open our eyes to the realities of a racialized and repressive social order whose institutions wage war against many young people.’
    • ‘Nor should the irony of this be overlooked, given Hanson's stridently self-righteous defense of free speech in the face of repressive political correctness.’
    • ‘The dream of creating a culturally renewed Ireland was replaced by a raft of repressive cultural and social legislation that followed the most reactionary example of Catholic social doctrine.’
    • ‘After the coup of 1964, the country suffered from a deeply entrenched, repressive military dictatorship, afflicted by abrogations of human rights that included censorship, random arrests and torture.’
    • ‘It is also a politically safe position for the narrator who must negotiate his way through a repressive political system.’
    • ‘As in Wright's novel, in Chicano urban texts the nihilist renounces institutions and ideologies which are perceived to maintain a repressive social and racial order.’
    • ‘Following a visit to San Salvador in 1973 she wrote Salvador, describing the repressive political regime.’
    • ‘People are fed up with regimes that are repressive and have failed to deliver prosperity.’
    • ‘However, relative peace brought by colonialism, and repressive colonial policies of recruitment and taxation encouraged people to spread out in the hinterland so as not to be found by colonial authorities.’
    • ‘The Tokugawa brought peace and stability to the country, but at the costs of a repressive political style.’
    • ‘It should stop propping up right-wing repressive regimes, and should not crush attempts at reforms and the redistribution of wealth.’
    • ‘With those resources, there's no need to plunder the Arctic Wildlife Refuge or support repressive regimes like the Saudi monarchy.’
    • ‘In any case, when we look at women's resistance to government pressure, I think we should avoid the temptation to turn them into pure political subversives critiquing a repressive government.’
    • ‘Bacic lived through the repressive Pinochet regime in Chile, and through her work with the truth commissions that have been operating in that country she has come in contact with innumerable survivors of torture.’
    • ‘In places like Burma, it takes the form of virtual forced labor under a brutally repressive military dictatorship.’
    • ‘But it's nonetheless true that right at the moment, dependence on oil is forcing the West to funnel money to repressive regimes in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and elsewhere.’
    • ‘Tyrannical and repressive non-colonial regimes might be supported if they could be presented as allies against Communism, but it was not always possible to go on making excuses for them.’
    oppressive, authoritarian, despotic, tyrannical, tyrannous, dictatorial, fascist, autocratic, undemocratic, anti-democratic, totalitarian, dominating, coercive, draconian, iron-fisted, harsh, severe, strict, tough, cruel, brutal
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    1. 1.1 Inhibiting or preventing the awareness of certain thoughts or feelings.
      ‘a repressive moral code’
      • ‘An interesting phenomenon raised by more than one author is the way that gender subversion, with women striking back at repressive aspects of patriarchy, can go hand in hand with genre subversion.’
      • ‘This is evident not only in the imposition of an alien, Eurocentric repressive moral code, but also in acts of violence and sexual exploitation.’
      • ‘How else could one account for the astonishingly abrupt shift in the American horror film from the progressive, exploratory, often radical late '60s-'70s to the reactionary and repressive '80s?’
      • ‘For him, a libidinal and Dionysian Black Orpheus had the potency to mount an explosive attack on the repressed, repressive West.’
      • ‘‘All dictatorships are sexually repressive and anti-life,’ he claims.’
      • ‘The following films deal with rebellion against arbitrary or repressive authority.’
      • ‘What's to prevent additional development assistance from being wasted by repressive, inefficient states?’
      • ‘The US has long held out a promise of freedom to people living half-suffocated lives in repressive societies.’
      • ‘Irrepressible woman takes on repressive system, this time in the form of a free-spirited art professor taking on the McCarthy era.’
      • ‘Black feminists have critiqued its repressive gender politics while not always recognizing that the sexual and racial politics of black nationalism are as deeply flawed as those of Eurocentric nationalism.’
      • ‘The first article was about the role of the Oedipal process in the generation of guilt and the repressive denial of the memory of murder.’
      • ‘As the story proceeds, the stirring of these erotic impulses in the midst of a society governed by a strict, repressive code of honor creates unpredictable complications.’
      • ‘Neil Cox presents a long-overdue discussion of the Surrealist fascination with the Marquis de Sade, which he argues was based on the theme of ‘desire frustrated by repressive authority’.’
      • ‘One cannot help but admire these women in their courage to be gender rebels, ostentatiously flouting centuries of repressive, patriarchal social conditioning.’
      harsh, cruel, brutal, crushing, tyrannical, tyrannous, iron-fisted, domineering, autocratic, dictatorial, undemocratic, anti-democratic, despotic, draconian, punitive
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