expression

noun
ex·​pres·​sion | \ ik-ˈspre-shən \

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 , -​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

If all humans today live in social systems that greatly restrict our expression of violence and aggression, how did this come about? John Hawks, WSJ, "‘The Goodness Paradox’ Review: The Benefits of Good Breeding," 25 Jan. 2019 Even the old man who has all the dialogue barely changes his facial expressions. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Nancy, a 1930s comic strip, was the funniest thing I read in 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 Natal planets in the Fifth House are linked to your intrinsic artistic expression, while planets transiting the Fifth House often deliver eureka moments that boost our confidence. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The 12 Astrological Houses: Interpreting Your Birth Chart Beyond the Zodiac," 6 Oct. 2018 This is Bostonian lobster at its purest expression. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "18 Best Restaurants in Boston," 16 July 2018 At least, that’s the case that Rihanna has made in the past, with an instantly iconic photo of her riding a jet ski side-saddle, her facial expression non-plussed. Cady Lang, Time, "Jay Z on a Jet Ski Is the Meme We All Deserve This Summer," 9 July 2018 Her expression was blank as her attorney, Stacey Schlimmer, pinned the January 2017 shooting on Frantz's son. Max Londberg, kansascity, "On trial in Kansas for murdering her husband, defense points finger at her son," 6 July 2018 All will miss her frequent expressions of love and her lively sense of humor. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Linda M. Parker," 2 July 2018 There are the non-verbal cues and looking patients in the eye and seeing the tears or their facial expression. David Sharos, Aurora Beacon-News, "After a lifetime of healing, longtime Aurora doctor saying goodbye," 15 June 2018

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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Last Updated

2 Feb 2019

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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 \

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 \

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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