expression

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

Essential Meaning of expression

1 : the act of making your thoughts, feelings, etc., known by speech, writing, or some other method : the act of expressing something freedom of expression [=freedom to say and show what you feel and believe] Dance is a form of artistic/creative expression. See More ExamplesShe is always looking for new ways to give expression to [=to express] her ideas. Her competitive spirit found expression [=was expressed] in sports. an expression of affection expressions of angerHide
2 : a word or phrase a slang expression He uses some very odd expressions. The expression "to make fun of" means "to ridicule."
3 : the way someone's face looks that shows emotions and feelings Judging from her expression, I think the gift was a complete surprise. We saw his expression change from angry/anger to sad/sadness. See More Examplesfacial expressions She wore/had a smug expression.Hide

Full 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

Other Words from expression

expressional \ ik-​ˈspresh-​nəl How to pronounce expression (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 In her first portrait, the Duchess seems to mimic this style of the past with her pose, facial expression, and the black-and-white filter. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 10 Jan. 2022 About 35 people participated in a vigil at the Alabama Capitol today to denounce the riot at the U.S. Capitol a year ago and draw attention to legislation that organizers said will affect voting rights, free expression, and public safety. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, 6 Jan. 2022 This is a place full of good, free food, inclusive cultural expression, edible gardens everywhere, lots of color, and public art. The Hunger Coalition, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 Between 10 and 16 botanicals are used in each Optimist expression, which are aptly named Fresh, Smokey and Bright. Kristin Scharkey, Sunset Magazine, 4 Jan. 2022 With brand new features and breathtaking action, DIRT 5 creates a vibe that delivers big on epic racing, pure expression, and unbridled style. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 29 Dec. 2021 These include the rule of law, security and safety, religious liberty, and the rights to assembly, expression, movement and personal relationships. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, 26 Dec. 2021 Stories range from about 10 to 30 minutes and feature dozens of characters, all of whom are conveyed by changes in facial expression, voice and movements of the body above the waist. New York Times, 19 Dec. 2021 Allyson Griffin, wearing a strained expression, paced outside her 5,133-square-foot house Tuesday afternoon smoking four days after her husband was locked up for allegedly abusing minors – including a 9-year-old girl. Rebecca Rosenberg, Fox News, 16 Dec. 2021

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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Time Traveler for expression

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near expression

express car

expression

expressionism

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Statistics for expression

Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Expression.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expression. Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for expression

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

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on expression

Nglish: Translation of expression for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expression for Arabic Speakers

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