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

The idea that chemical tags on genes can affect their expression without altering the DNA sequence, once surprising, is the stuff of textbooks. Ken Garber, Science | AAAS, "Hidden layer of gene control influences everything from cancer to memory," 1 July 2019 Gay clubs and safe spaces have always offered a place for experiences and road-testing new looks, identity expressions, desires and orientations. Jenna Wortham, New York Times, "The Joy of Queer Parties: ‘We Breathe, We Dip, We Flex’," 26 June 2019 In December, Craigellachie capped the series with a somewhat brash 33-year-old, a uniquely punchy expression from a region better known for light and floral. Clay Dillow, Fortune, "The 6 Most Interesting New Whiskies You Should Be Drinking Right Now," 15 June 2019 This is the idea that the world would divide into three totalitarian super-states that were rigidly hierarchical, in complete control of information and expression, and engaged in perpetual and unwinnable wars for world domination. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "“1984” at Seventy: Why We Still Read Orwell’s Book of Prophecy," 8 June 2019 The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Can Save Schrödinger's Cat By Predicting Quantum Jumps," 7 June 2019 Whatever the reason behind the expression, the moment is definitely bound to become a viral meme once more and more people see it. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'American Idol' Judge Luke Bryan's Reaction to Carrie Underwood's Finale Performance Is Everything," 20 May 2019 Architect Warren Planter believed that an architects job was not to focus on personal expression, like a painter or sculptor, but rather served to express the needs of others. Carisha Swanson, House Beautiful, "The Platner Arm Chair Will Add Instant Mid-Century Sophistication to Your Home," 1 Feb. 2019 Even within the limits imposed by the Communist Party, Hong Kong enjoys a degree of free expression and political flexibility, which is more than can be said for mainland China. The Economist, "Hong Kong’s leader backs down over controversial extradition bill," 15 June 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

6 Jul 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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