Repression is a kind of holding back or holding down. There's repression of feelings (willing yourself not to cry), as well as social repression (where the government limits freedom or shuts out certain groups).

Repression is like suppression: you restrain, inhibit, or subdue something. Not allowing women to vote is a perfect example of political repression. If you have trouble expressing your feelings and keep things bottled up, then emotional repression is a big part of your personality. People often turn to repression because they're scared of what will happen if they say what's on their mind. Unfortunately, political and emotional repression can often lead to anger and even violence.

Definitions of repression
  1. noun
    the act of repressing; control by holding down
    “his goal was the repression of insolence”
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    type of:
    the activity of managing or exerting control over something
  2. noun
    a state of forcible subjugation
    “the long repression of Christian sects”
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    type of:
    subjection, subjugation
    forced submission to control by others
  3. noun
    (psychiatry) the classical defense mechanism that protects you from impulses or ideas that would cause anxiety by preventing them from becoming conscious
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    type of:
    defence, defence mechanism, defence reaction, defense, defense mechanism, defense reaction
    (psychiatry) an unconscious process that tries to reduce the anxiety associated with instinctive desires
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