Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority.
  • transitive verb To cause to feel worried or depressed.
  • transitive verb Obsolete To overwhelm or crush.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To press against or upon.
  • To press unduly upon or against; overburden; weigh down, literally or figuratively: as, oppressed with care or anxiety; oppressed with fear.
  • To overpower or overcome; overbear or overwhelm; suppress; subdue.
  • To make languid; affect with lassitude: as, oppressed with the heat of the weather.
  • To sit or lie heavy on: as, excess of food oppresses the stomach.
  • To load or burden with cruel, unjust, or unreasonable impositions or restraints; treat with injustice or undue severity; wield authority over in a burdensome, harsh, or tyrannical manner; keep down by an unjust exercise of power.
  • To ravish. Chaucer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To impose excessive burdens upon; to overload; hence, to treat with unjust rigor or with cruelty.
  • transitive verb obsolete To ravish; to violate.
  • transitive verb obsolete To put down; to crush out; to suppress.
  • transitive verb To produce a sensation of weight in (some part of the body).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb obsolete Physically to press down on (someone) with harmful effects; to smother, crush.
  • verb transitive To keep down by force
  • verb transitive To make sad or gloomy

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb cause to suffer
  • verb come down on or keep down by unjust use of one's authority

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English oppressen, from Old French opresser, back-formation from oppression, oppression, from Latin oppressiō, oppressiōn-, from oppressus, past participle of opprimere, to press against : ob-, against; see ob– + premere, to press; see per- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English oppressen, from Old French oppresser, from Medieval Latin oppressare ("to press against, oppress"), frequentive of Latin opprimere, past participle oppressus ("to press against, press together, oppress"), from ob ("against") + premere, past participle pressus ("to press"); see press.

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