Definition of oppressive in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /əˈprɛsɪv/


1Inflicting harsh and authoritarian treatment: an oppressive dictatorship
More example sentences
  • Examples of the oppressive and repressive treatment of women abound.
  • Does the coercive and oppressive treatment of weaving children differ only by degree from the treatment of all carpet weavers?
  • They found government harsh and oppressive, complaining of the disparities between the rich and poor.
harsh, cruel, brutal, repressive, crushing, tyrannical, tyrannous, iron-fisted, domineering, autocratic, dictatorial, undemocratic, anti-democratic, despotic, draconian, punitive;
ruthless, relentless, merciless, pitiless, severe, inexorable;
unjust, unfair, undemocratic
1.1Weighing heavily on the mind or spirits: the offices present an oppressive atmosphere
More example sentences
  • This brought a heavily oppressive silence into the room.
  • There is very little dialogue in the film, furthering the, at times, oppressive silence weighing upon the viewer.
  • When Dan Parks dropped a goal for a 12-6 lead in the 57th minute, an already seething atmosphere became oppressive.
overwhelming, overpowering, hard to bear, unbearable, burdensome, unendurable, intolerable, heavy;
uncomfortable, grinding
2(Of weather) close and sultry: the day was sunless and oppressive
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • The oppressive weather we've had this past week makes me want to sleep all day.
  • You want to come stay in Tel Aviv one of these days, now that's oppressive weather.
muggy, close, heavy, hot, humid, sticky, steamy, soupy, fuggy, airless, stuffy, stifling, suffocating, sultry, torrid



Pronunciation: /əˈprɛsɪvli/
Example sentences
  • Hanoi is oppressively hot in July and August but pleasant in October and November, while Ho Chi Minh City's rainy season typically lasts from May to November.
  • And it has been incredibly, horribly, oppressively hot.
  • Anyway, as we know, the word ‘sultry’ isn't confined to describing oppressively hot and damp weather.


Pronunciation: /əˈprɛsɪvnəs/
Example sentences
  • She reveals the oppressiveness of housework evident in the series, an unusual viewpoint at a time when heroines in other books were learning to sew and cook.
  • Heavily influenced by French romanticism, Lanusse's poetry in Les Cenelles highlights love, death, and both the pleasures and the general oppressiveness of life.
  • But in America, he suffered under the oppressiveness of Jim Crow, which forced his oversized personality into a more humble version for his white colleagues.


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

Words that rhyme with oppressive

aggressive, compressive, concessive, degressive, depressive, digressive, excessive, expressive, impressive, obsessive, possessive, progressive, recessive, regressive, repressive, retrogressive, successive, transgressive

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: op¦pres|sive

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.