expression

noun ex·pres·sion \ ik-ˈspre-shən \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of expression

1 a : 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 1
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 : an act or product of pressing out

expressional

play \ik-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.

Recent Examples of expression from the Web

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

15th century



EXPRESSION Defined for English Language Learners

expression

noun

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

expression

noun ex·pres·sion \ ik-ˈspre-shən \

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 Dictionary

expression

noun ex·pres·sion \ ik-ˈspresh-ən \

medical Definition of expression

1 a : 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

Law Dictionary

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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