late 14c., "put down by force, conquer," a sense now obsolete, from Old French depresser "to press down, lower," from Late Latin depressare, frequentative of Latin deprimere "press down," from de "down" (see de-) + premere "to press, hold fast, cover, crowd, compress" (from PIE root *per- (4) "to strike").
Meaning "push down physically, press or move downward" is from early 15c.; that of "deject, make gloomy, lower in feeling" is from 1620s; economic sense of "lower in value" is from 1878.
"having the quality of lowering the spirits, dispiriting," 1789, present-participle adjective from depress (v.). Related: Depressingly.
c. 1600, "pressed down, lowered," past-participle adjective from depress (v.). Meaning "dejected, lowered in spirits" is from 1620s.
"one who or that which depresses or pushes down," 1610s, from Latin depressor, agent noun from deprimere "to press down, depress" (see depress). By 1874 as "surgical instrument for pressing down a part of the body."
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to strike," an extended sense from root *per- (1) "forward, through."
It forms all or part of: compress; depress; espresso; express; impress (v.1) "have a strong effect on the mind or heart;" imprimatur; imprint; oppress; oppression; pregnant (adj.2) "convincing, weighty, pithy;" press (v.1) "push against;" pressure; print; repress; reprimand; suppress.
c. 1400 as a term in astronomy, "angular distance of a star below the horizon," from Old French depression (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin depressionem (nominative depressio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin deprimere "to press down, depress" (see depress).
The literal sense "act of pressing down, state of being pressed down" is attested from 1650s. The meaning "dejection, state of sadness, a sinking of the spirits" is from early 15c. (as a clinical term in psychology, from 1905); meteorological sense is from 1881 (in reference to barometric pressure); meaning "a lowering or reduction in economic activity" was in use by 1826; given a specific application (with capital D-) by 1934 to the one that began worldwide in 1929. For "melancholy, depression" an Old English word was grevoushede.
A melancholy leading to desperation, and known to theologians under the name of 'acedia,' was not uncommon in monasteries, and most of the recorded instances of medieval suicides in Catholicism were by monks. [W.E.H. Lecky, "A History of European Morals," 1869]