tr.v. op·pressed, op·press·ing, op·press·es
1. To keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority: a people who were oppressed by tyranny.
2. To cause to feel worried or depressed: "People were at a loss ... oppressed by the atmosphere of the dead man's room" (Ward Just).
3. Obsolete To overwhelm or crush.
[Middle English oppressen, from Old French opresser, back-formation from oppression, oppression, from Latin oppressiō, oppressiōn-, from oppressus, past participle of opprimere, to press against : ob-, against; see OB- + premere, to press; see per-4 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.