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

adj weighing heavily on the senses or spirit

“the atmosphere was oppressive
oppressive sorrows”
marked by great psychological weight; weighted down especially with sadness or troubles or weariness

adj marked by unjust severity or arbitrary behavior

“the oppressive government”
oppressive laws”
tyrannical, tyrannous
tending to domineer

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