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She could barely repress a smile as she scolded her son for fidgeting.
  to hold something back


to subjugate (oppress or hold others down)
 Mark word for later review on this computer
repression repressive repressed repress repressing represses repressible
Strongly Associated with:   irrepressible
Most typically, repress is in reference to not permitting one’s own actions or feelings as in "repress his anger" or "repress a smile".  It is also common to repress the actions of others as in "repress a rebellion".
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  • She could barely repress a smile as she scolded her son for fidgeting.
  • Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.
    Harry S Truman
  • At length he could repress his feelings no longer.
    Scott, Walter  --  Ivanhoe
  • said Mary, her eyes filling with tears, and a little sob rising which she tried to repress.
    Eliot, George  --  Middlemarch

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  • She blushed with emotion when he came into the room, she could not repress a smile of rapture when he said anything amiable to her.
    Tolstoy, Leo  --  Anna Karenina
  • On recognizing her step-mother, Valentine could not repress a shudder, which caused a vibration in the bed.
    Dumas, Alexandre  --  The Count of Monte Cristo
  • The land fell into fewer hands, the number of the dispossessed increased, and every effort of the great owners was directed at repression.
    John Steinbeck  --  The Grapes of Wrath
  • ...laughing ... They tried at first to repress it, but Aslan said:
    C.S. Lewis  --  The Magician’s Nephew
  • It’s got to be written now before John and I mature and repress the whole thing.
    Paul Zindel  --  The Pigman
  • Mama Elena threw her a look that seemed to Tita to contain all the years of repression that had flowed over the family, and said: "If he intends to ask for your hand, tell him not to bother. He’ll be wasting his time and mine too. You know perfectly well that being the youngest daughter means you have to take care of me until the day I die."
    Laura Esquivel  --  Like Water for Chocolate

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  • If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.  --  Letter from a Birmingham Jail
  • Freud believed that the dream was a "disguised fulfillment of a repressed wish."
    Jostein Gaarder  --  Sophie’s World
  • Most often jovial, she has developed an iron repression of her exceptions to WILLY’S behavior
    Arthur Miller  --  Death of a Salesman
  • The Reardan kids were so worried about grades and sports and THEIR FUTURES that they sometimes acted like repressed middle-aged business dudes with cell phones stuck in their small intestines.
    Sherman Alexie  --  The Absolutlely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  • The rage adrenaline is flooding my arms and legs, stiff with repressed energy.
    Katherine Applegate  --  Everworld - Search For Senna
  • He was a big, good man with a soft baritone, who ruled with easy tact a choir of repressed soloists, and who had an unerring memory for the favorite hymns of District Superintendents.
    Harper Lee  --  Go Set a Watchman
  • She crossed her arms over her chest, repressing the impulse to shiver.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Heavenly Fire
  • This first venture outside her new home was not starting out auspiciously for Kit, but as they set out along the road she could not repress her curiosity and bouncing spirits.
    Elizabeth George Speare  --  The Witch of Blackbird Pond
  • Things I’ve either been repressing or was just too young to recall are coming back to me full force.
    Colleen Hoover  --  Hopeless
  • An inveterate radical, he assigned Catcher in the Rye to his students before the town could mobilize its committees of repression.
    Pat Conroy  --  The Water is Wide
  • Nor was there any pathology here, anything to do with sinister psychic repression which might have driven me to seek medical care.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • If anything, it sounded like I was repressing a smile.
    Becca Fitzpatrick  --  Hush, Hush
  • I was repressing an urge to jerk my hand away.
    Diana Gabaldon  --  Outlander
  • Cindy repressed an urge to hug the cranky; domineering editor right on the bull pen floor.
    James Patterson  --  1st to Die
  • The witch-hunt was not, however, a mere repression.
    Arthur Miller  --  The Crucible
  • In recent decades, the United States has supported, and sometimes even helped install, repressive regimes in Latin America.
    Sonia Nazario  --  Enrique’s Journey
  • " Miss Skeeter say maybe don’t spec nothing at all, that most Southern peoples is "repressed.
    Kathryn Stockett  --  The Help
  • "Oh, the scoundrels!" cried Passepartout, who could not repress his indignation.
    Jules Verne  --  Around the World in 80 Days
  • I could see as he looked down that he was repressing some internal emotion.
    Arthur Conan Doyle  --  The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Alec repressed a shudder.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Bones
  • Justine assumed an air of cheerfulness, while she with difficulty repressed her bitter tears.
    Mary Shelley  --  Frankenstein
  • As the Count leaned over me and his hands touched me, I could not repress a shudder.
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • As for my disposition, that is, perhaps, somewhat too hasty; but I have striven to repress it.
    Alexandre Dumas  --  The Count of Monte Cristo
  • My feelings will not be repressed.
    Jane Austen  --  Pride and Prejudice
  • Our legs refuse to move, our hands tremble, our bodies are a thin skin stretched painfully over repressed madness, over an almost irresistible, bursting roar.
    Erich Maria Remarque  --  All Quiet on the Western Front
  • And all week long he chortled with repressed delight at the officers’ club.
    Joseph Heller  --  Catch-22
  • This day-to-day falsification of the past, carried out by the Ministry of Truth, is as necessary to the stability of the regime as the work of repression and espionage carried out by the Ministry of Love.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • Her manner was slightly repressive.
    Agatha Christie  --  Murder On The Orient Express
  • Again, there was that spike of interest that Melanie repressed.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  The Host
  • But surrounding it was the stillness of near-midnight in a country town, so that the hurrying feet and the repressed voices had a hollow reverberance.
    John Knowles  --  A Separate Peace
  • The child had evidently been crying and Marilla felt a pang of pity which she sternly repressed.
    Lucy Maud Montgomery  --  Anne Of Green Gables
  • ’I know you didn’t like him,’ she answered, repressing a little the intensity of her delight.
    Emily Bronte  --  Wuthering Heights
  • He repressed this first, generous instinct, and recoiled before heroism.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • Already repressed and forgotten.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  Breaking Dawn
  • That’s the kind of fatalism and pessimism typical of a repressive feudal system, where peasants have no reason to believe in the efficacy of their own work.
    Malcolm Gladwell  --  Outliers
  • "Very easily said!" remarked Camilla, amiably repressing a sob, while a hitch came into her upper lip, and her tears overflowed.
    Charles Dickens  --  Great Expectations
  • It was as though she had spoken words that were forbidden, words that she had hidden within herself for a long time and now would be repressed no longer.
    Daphne du Maurier  --  Rebecca
  • It’s full of repressed fears and hatreds, things that we’re afraid to bring out into .
    Chaim Potok  --  The Chosen
  • With this consolation, Mr. Sikes appeared to repress a rising tendency to jealousy, and, clasping Oliver’s wrist more firmly, told him to step out again.
    Charles Dickens  --  Oliver Twist
  • Already he’s learned to repress not only his emotions but his humanity.
    Ralph Ellison  --  Invisible Man
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Associated words [difficulty]:   repress [1] , irrepressible [4] , suppress [1]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Human Behavior, Philosophy, Public Policy & Politics
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