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Oppress or Repress?

Judy Vorfeld

Oppress means to persecute/tyrannize/bully. A nation could be oppressed by its lead­ers, a com­mu­nity could be oppressed by a pow­er­ful seg­ment intent on con­trol, and a child could be oppressed by bullies.

Further, peo­ple can feel oppressed (worried/depressed) by many things, such as a strange atmos­phere or strange surroundings.

Repress means to restrain, limit, sub­due or end some­thing. People can repress a smile if they are in a seri­ous sit­u­a­tion where smil­ing isn’t appro­pri­ate, and they can repress mem­o­ries, but they can rarely repress a sneeze.

On a larger scale, gov­ern­ments can repress a rebel­lion as well as repress inflation.

American Heritage Dictionary.


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