Depress means to lessen the activity or power of something. If you want to depress the spread of poverty, you need to find ways to slow it down, like by bringing education and skill-building resources into the poorest communities.

The word depress comes from the Old French word depresser, meaning "put down by force." Depress can be used literally to describe something you push down, like when you depress the handle on a toaster to lower the bread. It can also describe a more figurative lowering, such as the lowering of a person's emotional state. Attending a funeral is likely to depress you, and watching a sad movie afterwards will just sink your spirits even more.

Definitions of depress
  1. verb
    press down
    Depress the space key”
    synonyms: press down
    see moresee less
    type of:
    displace, move
    cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense
  2. verb
    cause to drop or sink
    “The lack of rain had depressed the water level in the reservoir”
    synonyms: lower
    see moresee less
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  3. verb
    lessen the activity or force of
    “The rising inflation depressed the economy”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    lessen the strength of
  4. verb
    lower (prices or markets)
    “The glut of oil depressed gas prices”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    bring down, get down, let down, lower, take down
    move something or somebody to a lower position
  5. verb
    lower someone's spirits; make downhearted
    “These news depressed her”
    synonyms: cast down, deject, demoralise, demoralize, dismay, dispirit, get down
    see moresee less
    elate, intoxicate, lift up, pick up, uplift
    fill with high spirits; fill with optimism
    depress or discourage
    type of:
    deprive of courage or hope; take away hope from; cause to feel discouraged
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week