a) Burdensome or difficult to bear.

the oppressive tax laws made it difficult to start a small company

b) Tyrannical or exercising unjust power.

the oppressive land-owners kept a grip on the labourers

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  • Oppressive — Op*press ive, a. [Cf. F. oppressif.] 1. Unreasonably burdensome; unjustly severe, rigorous, or harsh; as, oppressive taxes; oppressive exactions of service; an oppressive game law. Macaulay. [1913 Webster] 2. Using oppression; tyrannical; as,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • oppressive — [adj1] overwhelming, repressive backbreaking*, bleak, brutal, burdensome, confining, cruel, demanding, depressing, depressive, despotic, dictatorial, discouraging, disheartening, dismal, dispiriting, exacting, exigent, gloomy, grievous, grinding …   New thesaurus

  • oppressive — I adjective afflictive, arduous, burdensome, confining, cruel, crushing, cumbersome, cumbrous, depressing, detrimental, devouring, difficult, difficult to bear, distressing, engulfing, exacting, exhausting, fatiguing, formidable, galling,… …   Law dictionary

  • oppressive — (adj.) 1641, from M.L. oppressivus, from pp. stem of opprimere (see OPPRESS (Cf. oppress)). Related: Oppressively; oppressiveness …   Etymology dictionary

  • oppressive — *onerous, burdensome, exacting Analogous words: extorting or extortionate, extracting (see corresponding verbs at EDUCE): compelling or compulsory, coercing or coercion, constraining, obliging or obligatory (see corresponding verbs at FORCE):… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • oppressive — ► ADJECTIVE 1) harsh and authoritarian. 2) weighing heavily on the mind or spirits. 3) (of weather) close and sultry. DERIVATIVES oppressively adverb oppressiveness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • oppressive — [ə pres′iv] adj. [ME oppressivus < L oppressus: see OPPRESS] 1. hard to put up with; causing great discomfort or fatigue 2. cruelly overbearing; tyrannical 3. weighing heavily on the mind, spirits, or senses; distressing SYN. ONEROUS… …   English World dictionary

  • oppressive — [[t]əpre̱sɪv[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED If you describe a society, its laws, or customs as oppressive, you think they treat people cruelly and unfairly. The new laws will be just as oppressive as those they replace. ...refugees from the oppressive regime …   English dictionary

  • oppressive — op|pres|sive [əˈpresıv] adj 1.) powerful, cruel, and unfair ▪ an oppressive military regime 2.) weather that is oppressive is unpleasantly hot with no movement of air ▪ the oppressive heat of the afternoon 3.) a situation that is oppressive makes …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • oppressive — adjective 1 powerful, cruel, and unfair: an oppressive military regime 2 weather that is oppressive is unpleasantly hot with no movement of air: The evening gradually grew more and more oppressive. 3 a situation that is oppressive makes you feel… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • oppressive — oppressively, adv. oppressiveness, n. /euh pres iv/, adj. 1. burdensome, unjustly harsh, or tyrannical: an oppressive king; oppressive laws. 2. causing discomfort by being excessive, intense, elaborate, etc.: oppressive heat. 3. distressing or… …   Universalium

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