Definition of expression
1a : an act, process, or instance of representing in a medium (such as words) : utterance freedom of expressionb (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
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 expressionb (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
expressionalplay \ik-ˈspresh-nəl, -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.
Recent Examples of expression from the Web
Freedom of expression immediately started getting cut.
Twitter users made note of the statue's odd facial expression, as well as one other major difference between the real Bey and the Madame Tussauds version: their skin tones.
Speech is violence, but violent acts are just a really neat form of expression.
HAMBURG, Germany — Every Western democracy struggles with the contradictory demands of permitting free expression and maintaining public order.
The expression, placing his hands atop Yehoshua, means that Moshe had succeeded in transmitting to Yehoshua the vital qualities of a teacher who is soft, compassionate and sensitive.
Thankfully, many people were of course super supportive of the superhero actor's candid expression.
The exhibit features 14 artists, all looking to push the boundaries of floral expression.
Just two days earlier, nearly two dozen Republicans had joined Democrats to tentatively approve a $36.5 billion spending plan, with Madigan and Durkin telling lawmakers the vote was an expression of good faith as negotiations continued.
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.
First Known Use of expression
EXPRESSION Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of expression for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of expression for Students
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.
Medical Definition of expression
1a: something that manifests, represents, reflects, embodies, or symbolizes something else the first clinical expression of a diseaseb (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
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
Additional Notes on expression
An expression is protectible under copyright law, but an idea is not.
Seen and Heard
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