Etymology
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suppress (v.)

late 14c. (implied in suppressing) "be burdensome;" 1520s as "put down by force or authority," from Latin suppressus, past participle of supprimere "press down, stop, hold back, check, stifle," from assimilated form of sub "below, under" (see sub-) + premere "to press, hold fast, cover, crowd, compress" (from PIE root *per- (4) "to strike"). Sense of "prevent or prohibit the circulation of" is from 1550s of publications; medical use from 1620s. Related: Suppressed; suppressing.

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suppressant (n.)

"that which suppresses," 1922, from suppress + -ant.

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suppression (n.)

early 15c., from Latin suppressionem (nominative suppresio), noun of action from past-participle stem of supprimere (see suppress).

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squelch (v.)

1620s, "to fall, drop, or stomp (on something soft) with crushing force," possibly imitative of sound made in the process. The figurative sense of "suppress completely" is first recorded 1864. Related: Squelched; squelching.

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bate (v.1)

c. 1300, "to alleviate, allay;" mid-14c., "suppress, do away with;" late 14c., "to reduce; to cease," a shortening of abate (q.v.). Now only in phrase bated breath (subdued or shortened breathing, from fear, passion, awe, etc.), which was used by Shakespeare in "The Merchant of Venice" (1596).

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repressive (adj.)

early 15c., in medicine, "serving to check or suppress, tending to subdue," from Old French repressif and directly from Medieval Latin repressivus, from Latin repress-, past-participle stem of reprimere "hold back, curb," figuratively "check, confine, restrain, refrain" (see repress). Related: Repressively.

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elide (v.)

1590s, a legal term, "to annul, do away with," from French elider (16c.), from Latin elidere "strike out, force out," in grammar "suppress (a vowel)" from ex "out" (see ex-) + -lidere, combining form of laedere "to strike" (see collide). The Latin word in grammatical use translates Greek ekthlibein. Phonological sense "slurring over a sound or part of a word" in English is first recorded 1796. Related: Elided; eliding.

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onanism (n.)

"masturbation," also "coitus interruptus," 1727, from Onan, name of the son of Judah (Genesis xxxviii.9), who spilled his seed on the ground rather than impregnate his dead brother's wife: "And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother." The moral point of the verse was redirected by those who sought to suppress masturbation. Related: Onanist; onanistic.

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coercion (n.)

early 15c., cohercioun, "compulsion, forcible constraint," from Old French cohercion (Modern French coercion), from Medieval Latin coercionem, from Latin coerctionem, earlier coercitionem, noun of action from past-participle stem of coercere "to control, restrain" (see coerce).

It defies the usual pattern where Middle English -cion reverts to Latin type and becomes -tion. Specific sense in reference to government by force, ostensibly to suppress disorder, emerged from 19c. British policies in Ireland. "As the word has had, in later times, a bad flavour, suggesting the application of force as a remedy, or its employment against the general sense of the community, it is now usually avoided by those who approve of the action in question" [OED].

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quell (v.)

Middle English quellen "to kill" (a person or animal), from Old English cwellan "to kill, cause to die; murder, execute," from Proto-Germanic *kwaljanan (source also of Old English cwelan "to die," cwalu "violent death;" Old Saxon quellian "to torture, kill;" Old Norse kvelja "to torment;" Middle Dutch quelen "to vex, tease, torment;" Old High German quellan "to suffer pain," German quälen "to torment, torture"), from PIE root *gwele- "to throw, reach," with extended sense "to pierce."

The original sense is obsolete; the milder sense of "suppress, extinguish, cause to cease," developed by c. 1300; that of "reduce to peace or subjection" is by 1560s. Compare quail (v.). "The common identification of quell with kill (1), of which it is said to be the earlier form, is erroneous" [Century Dictionary]. Related: Quelled; quelling.

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