Meaning of oppression in English:


Pronunciation /əˈprɛʃ(ə)n/

See synonyms for oppression

Translate oppression into Spanish


mass noun
  • 1Prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or exercise of authority.

    ‘a region shattered by oppression and killing’
    • ‘The trick is always to look at what we are doing today as if we were someplace in the future looking back and figure out what the oppressions and the injustices are that we are committing today and to get them out of our lives.’
    • ‘It is a struggle to also overcome oppressions based on racism and economic exploitation, as well as a struggle to overcome the legacy of colonialism.’
    • ‘For example, in one essay he shows how African Americans in the South sought to disable or challenge the oppressions even before the Civil Rights era with tactics like fare beating and silent protest.’
    • ‘But for every woman trying to move patriarchal, racist and militarist mountains, there were thousands who just went on living life as it was for women then, with all its oppressions.’
    • ‘If nothing is done to address the root problems behind the oppressions I can see it happening again, I can't see any hope really.’
    • ‘We've had wars, liberations, and oppressions.’
    • ‘In recent years I've come to feel that all the directed oppressions we practice on one another are based not on principles of any kind, but on vulnerability.’
    • ‘The particular history of oppressions does differ, but their structure and consequences for the different groups is the same.’
    • ‘It is such myths (of past wrongs to be avenged or conformities to be observed) that trigger the chain of oppressions.’
    • ‘The whole panoply of oppressions that scare our people and nation would be on the wane.’
    • ‘We often became trapped in internal competition for ‘who is the most oppressed,’ resulting in a hierarchy of oppressions, each group guilt tripping the other.’
    • ‘Feminist work has helped to highlight how oppressions constitute globalization and how revealing these oppressions can lead to new openings and understandings about agency.’
    • ‘It is in this way that political change occurs, new freedoms or new oppressions emerge, and conceptions of what is politically acceptable, the ‘theory’ of politics, change over time.’
    • ‘Their overemphasis on fragmentation, however, offers neither political nor intellectual support in confronting the oppressions with which feminism has historically been concerned.’
    • ‘And people have critiqued Western reason precisely because ‘reason’ and ‘science’ have been such powerful tools to justify various oppressions.’
    • ‘Education, research, critical and theoretical thinking, and in-depth understanding of institutional oppressions remain necessary.’
    • ‘The view of a human being as a possession, rather than a full person with the right to self-determination, is the foundation of many oppressions, and also the foundation of abuse.’
    • ‘As Audre Lourde argued, if we are to work for true social change and justice, there cannot be ‘a hierarchy of oppressions.’’
    • ‘‘There are some oppressions you can't remain silent about,’ Almussa says.’
    • ‘This analysis not only reveals how multiple oppressions constitute the contemporary system, but also suggests new openings for change.’
    persecution, abuse, maltreatment, ill treatment, tyranny, despotism, repression, suppression, subjection, subjugation, enslavement, exploitation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The state of being subject to oppressive treatment.
      ‘a response to collective poverty and oppression’
      • ‘Or perhaps some people are simply destined to poverty, oppression and abuse.’
      • ‘Now people are subjected to oppression like before independence.’
      • ‘Now we all labour under the cynical belief that poverty, oppression, exploitation is our destiny and we have to stay with it.’
      • ‘Poverty and oppression are palpable here, as is the social anger of the working class at these conditions.’
      • ‘Anyway, real folk singers like to sing about death, pain, injustice, poverty and oppression.’
      • ‘We want to end exploitation, oppression, injustice, inequality, poverty, hunger and violence.’
      • ‘We owe it to all those facing occupation, oppression, poverty and injustice.’
      • ‘Ages of oppression and poverty rarely produce proud and warlike spirits.’
      • ‘Maybe she should go live among people who have nothing and who know nothing other than poverty and oppression.’
      • ‘On the other hand, Walker's childhood was not devoid of exposure to oppression and injustice.’
      • ‘The republic was unlike all the countries of old Europe, which were based on oppression, poverty and ignorance.’
      • ‘There is evidence that drugs can be a symptom of urban poverty and oppression.’
      • ‘Millions of people the world over have marched against war, privatisation, oppression and poverty.’
      • ‘They are the source of wealth and the hope of a world weary of poverty and weary of oppression.’
      • ‘Some of Elliot's poems are of genuine quality, and his themes of poverty and oppression are deeply felt.’
      • ‘Starvation, slavery, oppression and fear continue to dominate much of our world.’
      • ‘The forces of hierarchy, domination and oppression are often said to be driving the capitalist pursuit of higher profits.’
      • ‘The politicians used their opportunity to inflict mass poverty, oppression and murder.’
      • ‘They must refrain from oppression and injustice and should help the persecuted.’
      • ‘Several students felt that the stories of oppression and abuse that they had heard had been difficult to endure.’
      persecution, abuse, maltreatment, ill treatment, tyranny, despotism, repression, suppression, subjection, subjugation, enslavement, exploitation
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Mental pressure or distress.
      ‘Beatrice's mood had initially been alarm and a sense of oppression’
      • ‘This is a grim, bleak little movie with precious little emotion to it and a real sense of oppression.’
      • ‘Their enclosed spaces offer shelter and protection without any sense of oppression.’
      • ‘Statists see a world of oppression and pain, and get depressed because of global warming and evil multinationals.’
      • ‘Tens of millions around the globe see it, with justification, as an emblem of their oppression and misery.’


Middle English from Old French, from Latin oppressio(n-), from the verb opprimere (see oppress).