Definition of repress in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɪˈprɛs/


[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, put an end to, crush, squash, extinguish, stamp out, put a stop to, stop, end, nip in the bud;
contain, gain control over, gain mastery over
informal squelch
oppress, subjugate, hold down, keep down, rule with a rod of iron, rule with an iron hand, dominate, intimidate, master, domineer over, tyrannize, subject, crush, overpower, overcome
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 or desire) 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, keep back, hold in, bite back, suppress, fight back, keep in check, check, control, keep under control, curb, rein in, contain, silence, muffle, stifle, smother, swallow, choke back, strangle, gag;
conceal, hide, bottle up, inhibit, frustrate
1.3 Biology Prevent the transcription of (a gene).
Example sentences
  • While examining the plant, researchers at several labs found that one of its genes, flc, represses flowering.



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.


Pronunciation: /rɪˈprɛsɪbl/
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'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: re|press

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