Definition of depress in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəˈpres/


[with object]
1Make (someone) feel utterly dispirited or dejected: that first day at school depressed me
More example sentences
  • At first it depressed me that people gauged their popularity by how many texts they received, but on further reflection I realised that it's nothing new.
  • That was completely demoralising, it shattered my confidence, and I was depressed for a year.
  • It just depresses me that so many people waste so much time bleating inanely and helplessly when there are lives to go out and live.
sadden, dispirit, cast down, get down, dishearten, demoralize, crush, shake, desolate, weigh down, oppress;
upset, distress, grieve, haunt, harrow
informal give someone the blues
1.1Reduce the level or strength of activity in (something, especially an economic or biological system): fear of inflation in America depressed bond markets alcohol depresses the nervous system
More example sentences
  • But they also are aware that large tax increases at this time of economic stagnation and rising unemployment would depress economic activity even further.
  • These actions further depress economic activity, prices, corporate cash flows and the ability of borrowers to service debts.
  • Inflationary policies conducted for long periods of time not only foster the growth of government but also depress economic activity.
slow down, reduce, lower, weaken, impair;
limit, check, inhibit, restrict
reduce, lower, cut, cheapen, keep down, discount, deflate, depreciate, devalue, diminish, ax, slash
2Push or pull (something) down into a lower position: depress the lever
More example sentences
  • When the grip safety is depressed the rod is pushed up and lifts the firing pin block located in the slide.
  • Your thumb will depress the magazine release lever as you grasp the magazine.
  • It must also be in the proper position to depress the plunger on the deadlocking latch.
press, push, hold down;
thumb, tap;
operate, activate



Example sentences
  • User selectable switches for setting the desired functional operation of the apparatus and a manually depressible panic button are also provided.
  • At least one of the tray and label is flexibly depressible at the separator and cell for pressing the other lead against the cell to temporarily energize the LED.
  • It has a small, depressible head piece, with a narrow channel running through it.


Late Middle English: from Old French depresser, from late Latin depressare, frequentative of deprimere 'press down'.

  • press from Middle English:

    Both press and print (Middle English) can be traced back to Latin premere, ‘to press’, as can pressure (Late Middle English). Journalists and the newspaper industry have been known as the press, in reference to printing presses, since the late 18th century, although before that a press was a printing house or publisher. Another name for journalists, used since the 1830s or 1840s, is the fourth estate. It was originally used of the then unrepresented mass of people: Henry Fielding wrote in 1752 ‘None of our political writers…take notice of any more than three estates, namely, Kings, Lords, and Commons…passing by in silence that very large and powerful body which form the fourth estate in this community…The Mob.’ By the middle of the 19th century it was firmly established for the press. Carlyle wrote in 1841 ‘Burke said there were three Estates in Parliament, but in the Reporters’ Gallery…there sat a fourth Estate more important far than they all.’ Burke has been credited with the term, but no evidence beyond Carlyle has yet been found. Press the flesh is US slang from the 1920s meaning ‘to shake hands’. These days it is generally used of celebrities or politicians greeting crowds by shaking hands with random people. The heyday of the press gang, a group employed to force men to join the navy, was the 18th and early 19th centuries, but the first record of the term comes before 1500. Press-ganging people was really a form of arbitrary conscription, a word that appears in Late Middle English in the literal sense of ‘writing down together’ from Latin con ‘with’ and scribere ‘write’, but which was only introduced in the modern sense of compulsory enlistment in Britain in 1916, during the First World War, although the word was first recorded in 1800. Depress (Late Middle English) has the basic sense of ‘press down’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: de·press

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