Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

expression

play
noun ex·pres·sion \ik-ˈspre-shən\

Simple Definition of expression

  • : the act of making your thoughts, feelings, etc., known by speech, writing, or some other method : the act of expressing something

  • : a word or phrase

  • : the way someone's face looks that shows emotions and feelings

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of expression

  1. 1 a :  an act, process, or instance of representing in a medium (as words) :  utterance <freedom of expression> b (1) :  something that manifests, embodies, or symbolizes something else <this gift is an expression of my admiration for you> (2) :  a significant word or phrase (3) :  a mathematical or logical symbol or a meaningful combination of symbols (4) :  the detectable effect of a gene; also :  expressivity 1

  2. 2 a :  a mode, means, or use of significant representation or symbolism; especially :  felicitous or vivid indication or depiction of mood or sentiment <read the poem with expression> b (1) :  the quality or fact of being expressive (2) :  facial aspect or vocal intonation as indicative of feeling

  3. 3 :  an act or product of pressing out

expressional

play \-ˈspresh-nəl, -ˈspre-shə-nəl\ adjective

Examples of expression in a sentence

  1. Dance is a form of artistic expression.

  2. He uses some very odd expressions.

  3. The expression to make fun of means to ridicule.

  4. Judging from her expression, I think the gift was a complete surprise.

  5. We saw his expression change from angry to sad.

  6. She wore a smug expression.



15th Century

First Known Use of expression

15th century



EXPRESSION Defined for Kids

expression

play
noun ex·pres·sion \ik-ˈspre-shən\

Definition of expression for Students

  1. 1 :  the act or process of making known especially in words

  2. 2 :  a meaningful word or saying <Grandpa uses old-fashioned expressions.>

  3. 3 :  the look on someone's face <She had a pleased expression.>

  4. 4 :  a way of speaking, singing, or playing that shows mood or feeling <She read her lines with expression.>




Medical Dictionary

expression

play
noun ex·pres·sion \ik-ˈspresh-ən\

Medical Definition of expression

  1. 1a:  something that manifests, represents, reflects, embodies, or symbolizes something else <the first clinical expression of a disease>b (1):  the detectable effect of a gene; also :  the sum of the processes (as transcription and translation) by which a gene is manifested in the phenotype <gene expression can be controlled by regulatory proteins that bind to specific sites on DNA—Mark Ptashne> (2):  expressivity

  2. 2:  facial aspect or vocal intonation as indicative of feeling

  3. 3:  an act or product of pressing out




Law Dictionary

expression

noun ex·pres·sion

Legal Definition of expression

  1. 1 :  an act, process, or instance of representing or conveying in words or some other medium :  speech <protected expression under the First Amendment>

  2. 2 :  a mode or means of expressing an idea, opinion, or thought



Additional Notes on expression

An expression is protectible under copyright law, but an idea is not.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up expression? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a representation of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

lazy melancholy frenetic philistine
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ