Think of something crushing you, and you will understand what oppressive is. It can be something that crushes your spirit, like a bad relationship, or something that crushes you with its tyranny, like the oppressive rule of a dictator.

Oppressive comes in many flavors; laws can be oppressive, governments can be oppressive, even relationships can be oppressive. The adjective oppressive is heavy stuff; it can feel like you can’t breathe, like something is choking you: “His oppressive behavior made me feel like I was being smothered.” If something is just too intense, and not in a good way, that also can feel oppressive.

Definitions of oppressive
  1. adjective

    weighing heavily on the senses or spirit

    “the atmosphere was
    oppressive sorrows”


    marked by great psychological weight; weighted down especially with sadness or troubles or weariness
  2. adjective

    marked by unjust severity or arbitrary behavior

    oppressive government”
    oppressive laws”
    tyrannical, tyrannous


    tending to domineer

Word Family