Repressive things keep people from doing or saying what they want. Repressive controls on the press don't allow journalists to freely report the news.

It's almost always a government, or a political or social system, that acts in a repressive way. When police officers don't let citizens videotape arrests, or a society doesn't allow girls to attend school, it's repressive. Someone growing up in a repressive family might feel cautious about saying or doing the wrong things. The adjective repressive comes from the Latin root repressus, "held back or curbed," and also "checked or restrained."

Definitions of repressive
  1. adjective
    restrictive of action
    “a repressive regime”
    synonyms: inhibitory, repressing
    serving to restrict
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