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

Natal planets in the Third House are motivated by expression and often build close relationships with their peers, including siblings, coworkers, and classmates. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018 His primary opponent within his lab is played by comedian Jenny Slate (Parks & Recreation), one of the funniest women on modern TV, but she's reduced to panicked expressions and generic, worrisome groans. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Venom film review: Stupid, but still good enough to bite your head off," 5 Oct. 2018 London is all about expression and having a bit of fun. Mara Balagtas, Condé Nast Traveler, "How 'Teen Vogue' Fashion Director Rajni Jacques Does London," 21 Sep. 2018 Watch out for these common expressions and use them as an indicator that self-judgments and evaluations are happening that may not be true. Cynthia Kane, SELF, "6 Negative Self-Talk Phrases to Cut Out of Your Vocabulary," 7 Sep. 2018 Last week, hundreds of Gazans protested the dire conditions, a rare expression of public discontent against the authoritarian government. Fares Akram, The Seattle Times, "Israel, Gaza militants in 2nd day of cross-border fighting," 25 Mar. 2019 The gesture was a sign of solidarity with the Muslim community, which was targeted in the attack, especially Muslim women who wear the hijab, a veil covering the head and hair as an expression of their religious identity. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "New Zealand Women Wear Headscarves to Honor Mosque Shooting Victims," 23 Mar. 2019 Users of the iOS 12 beta have been noticing and sharing expressions of this feature for months. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "iOS 12, thoroughly reviewed," 17 Sep. 2018 The beseeching, big-eyed expression of these animals is haunting, and Moskowitz doesn’t spare us a vivid look into their struggle, as the caribou, muzzles dusted with snow, eke out their survival day to day. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "David Moskowitz captures the beauty — and fragility — of the Northwest’s mountain caribou," 11 Feb. 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

27 Apr 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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