Definition of repress in English:


Syllabification: re·press
Pronunciation: /riˈpres


[with object]
  • 1Subdue (someone or something) by force: the uprisings were repressed
    More example sentences
    • During World War II, the Italian fascist government severely repressed the local mafia forces which were formed earlier by the gabbellotti, or caretakers of the estates for absentee landlords.
    • They are victims of the continuing illegal occupation which represses freedom of speech.
    • The June 1848 uprising was savagely repressed, as far as we know without Vidocq's help, but Lamartine's remark is still a startling tribute to his power.
    suppress, quell, quash, subdue, put down, crush, extinguish, stamp out, defeat, conquer, rout, overwhelm, containoppress, subjugate, keep down, rule with a rod of iron, rule with an iron fist, intimidate, tyrannize, crush
  • 1.1Restrain, prevent, or inhibit (the expression or development of something): Isabel couldn’t repress a sharp cry of fear
    More example sentences
    • Expression is not expelled with menacing pitchfork alla Stravinsky nor repressed like Ravel.
    • Using them, it seems that what is expressed in the former is repressed in the latter, and vice versa.
    • Passion seems to be repressed in Linda, who prefers control to stirred emotions, and who thinks that being ruled by passion goes against everything she stands for.
  • 1.2Suppress (a thought, feeling, or desire) in oneself so that it becomes or remains unconscious: the thought that he had killed his brother was so terrible that he repressed it
    More example sentences
    • Right until the moment that the Tewkesbury trashers [Spunge] hit the stage Freud would have been proud of me; I had repressed my desire to have fun as though it was a bitter childhood memory.
    • ‘I think Brigitte's been more successful in repressing her body, and repressing its desires, than Ginger was,’ says Perkins.
    • Ironically, the men she meets have repressed their own desires and cannot freely enjoy the sexual delights she offers.
    restrain, hold back/in, keep back, suppress, keep in check, control, keep under control, curb, stifle, bottle up
    informal button up, keep the lid on
  • 1.3 Biology Prevent the transcription of (a gene).
    More example sentences
    • While examining the plant, researchers at several labs found that one of its genes, flc, represses flowering.



More example sentences
  • Their experiments show that the Gal and Lac repressers form antiparallel loops on longer DNA molecules.
  • Chromosome tags consist of tandem copies of an operator site bound to fluorescent represser (TetR-GFP) and give rise to diffraction-limited spots in fluorescence images.
  • The resulting hyperstable Lacl-DNA loops exist as both a compact ‘closed’ form with a V-shaped represser and also a more ‘open’ form with an extended hinge.


More example sentences
  • The resulting strain, SBY599, was sporulated to generate a haploid cse4 strain covered by the repressible CSE4, which was then crossed to SBY468.
  • The predicted phosphatases are A, repressible alkaline phosphatase; B, nonrepressible acid phosphatase; C, nonrepressible alkaline phosphatase; and D, repressible acid phosphatase.
  • However, a putative glucose repressible element and TCACGC sequences were not detected in the upstream region sequenced.


Middle English (in the sense 'keep back (something objectionable)'): from Latin repress- 'pressed back, checked', from the verb reprimere, from re- 'back' + premere 'to press'.

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