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+4 votes
I've checked some dictionaries, but the difference is eluding me.
by (6.1k points)

4 Answers

+7 votes
Oppression is what masters do to slaves, and repression is what masters do to slaves-in-revolt.

In other words, oppression targets pacified populations or groups, while repression targets those (usually individuals or smaller groups) who revolt against their conditions as subjects of oppression.
by (20.5k points)
I think anok is right. Oppression is the way of life within a society of domination. Repression is the put down of specific rebellions or revolts.

However, just to confuse things a bit, I do remember people also using the word suppression when talking about life in the former Soviet Union.
+3 votes
 mid-14c., from O.Fr. oppresser (13c.), from M.L. oppressare, frequentative of L. opprimere "press against, crush" (in L.L. "to rape"), from ob "against" + premere "to press, push" (see press (v.1)).

    It is the due [external] restraint and not the moderation of rulers that constitutes a state of liberty; as the power to oppress, though never exercised, does a state of slavery. [St. George Tucker, "View of the Constitution of the United States," 1803]

    mid-14c., "cruel or unjust use of power or authority," from Fr. oppression (12c.), from L. oppressionem (nom. oppressio), noun of action from pp. stem of opprimere (see oppress). Meaning "action of weighing on someone's mind or spirits" is from late 14c.

 late 14c., "to check, restrain," from L. repressus, pp. of reprimere "hold back, check," from re- "back" + premere "to push" (see press (v.1)). Used of feelings or desires from late 14c.; in the purely psychological sense, it represents Ger. verdrängen (Freud, 1893), first attested 1904 (implied in repressed). Meaning "to put down" (a rebellion, etc.) is from late 15c. Related: Repressed; repressing.

    late 14c., "to put down by force or authority," from L. suppressus, pp. of supprimere "press down, stop, check, stifle," from sub "down, under" (see sub-) + premere "push against" (see press (v.1)). Sense of "prevent or prohibit the circulation of" is from 1550s. Related: Suppressed; suppressing.

Take your pick, lol
by (2.5k points)
0 votes
Oppression is from outside (another personq group), Repression us from inside (within a person
by (120 points)
0 votes
will my answer get deleted if i just say 'spelling'.
by (2.1k points)
That would be oppressive and/or suppressive if it was deleted, but if you edited it into a comment, then it would be repressive. Either way it will be impressive especially if you were pressed on the answer to your answer.