expression

noun
ex·​pres·​sion | \ ik-ˈspre-shən How to pronounce expression (audio) \

Definition of expression

1a : an act, process, or instance of representing in a medium (such 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 sense 1
2a : 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 : an act or product of pressing out

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Other Words from expression

expressional \ ik-​ˈspresh-​nəl How to pronounce expressional (audio) , -​ˈspre-​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of expression in a Sentence

Dance is a form of artistic expression. He uses some very odd expressions. The expression “to make fun of” means “to ridicule.” Judging from her expression, I think the gift was a complete surprise. We saw his expression change from angry to sad. She wore a smug expression.
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Recent Examples on the Web

One of the players kept sucking in his cheeks, giving his face a hollow expression. Chia-chia Lin, The New Yorker, "A novelist’s stint impersonating the ultra-rich in China.," 16 July 2019 Its flagship whiskey—blended from stocks purchased from an undisclosed Irish distiller until its new spirit has time to mature—is a classic expression of the traits that make Irish whiskey unique. Fortune, "5 Bottles That Will Put You at the Center of Irish Whiskey’s Renaissance," 13 July 2019 But the Wexners weren't satisfied with the painting – upset about Abigail's expression and the children's ages and sizes – and refused to pay. Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati.com, "How Ohio's richest man was connected to Jeffrey Epstein, financier turned sex offender," 10 July 2019 Hip-hop's fast pace, rife with slang, double meanings, idiomatic expressions and plays on words — or made-up words — can be the most challenging. Chris Kenning, The Courier-Journal, "ASL interpreters bring music to life for deaf concertgoers at festivals like Forecastle," 3 July 2019 An early breakout moment from Wednesday’s 2020 Democratic presidential debate didn’t come from a candidate’s answer, but from a facial expression. Rachel E. Greenspan, Time, "Did Cory Booker Flash Beto O'Rourke Side-Eye After He Started Speaking Spanish at the Debate?," 28 June 2019 Facial expressions and the neural pathways that control them differ between the two kinds of laughter, the authors say. Giovanni Sabato, Scientific American, "What’s So Funny? The Science of Why We Laugh," 26 June 2019 At least in our culture, affection is commonly communicated through verbal expressions and also through nonverbal gestures such as hugging. The Conversation, oregonlive.com, "This is how many dads express their love for sons," 16 June 2019 In that case, expression and communication are the same thing. Frans De Waal, Discover Magazine, "Cheerful Chimps: Are Animals Really Happy When They Smile?," 31 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'expression.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of expression

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for expression

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expression

The first known use of expression was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for expression

expression

noun

English Language Learners 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

expression

noun
ex·​pres·​sion | \ ik-ˈspre-shən How to pronounce expression (audio) \

Kids Definition of expression

1 : the act or process of making known especially in words
2 : a meaningful word or saying Grandpa uses old-fashioned expressions.
3 : the look on someone's face She had a pleased expression.
4 : a way of speaking, singing, or playing that shows mood or feeling She read her lines with expression.

expression

noun
ex·​pres·​sion | \ ik-ˈspresh-ən How to pronounce expression (audio) \

Medical Definition of expression

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 : facial aspect or vocal intonation as indicative of feeling
3 : an act or product of pressing out

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expression

noun
ex·​pres·​sion

Legal Definition of expression

1 : an act, process, or instance of representing or conveying in words or some other medium : speech protected expression under the First Amendment
2 : a mode or means of expressing an idea, opinion, or thought

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

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Comments on expression

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