expressive

adjective

ex·​pres·​sive ik-ˈspre-siv How to pronounce expressive (audio)
1
: of or relating to expression
the expressive function of language
2
: serving to express, utter, or represent
foul and novel terms expressive of rageH. G. Wells
3
: effectively conveying meaning or feeling
an expressive silence
expressive line drawings
expressively adverb
expressiveness noun

Examples of expressive in a Sentence

the expressive function of language the teacher's expressive sigh showed that she had heard that excuse many times before
Recent Examples on the Web People were converting to more expressive forms of evangelical Christianity — sometimes called charismatic or Pentecostal — which often entailed speaking in tongues and faith healing and emphasized a daily struggle between good and evil. Bishop Sand, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 The setup may seem pedestrian, but in the hands of writer Goscinny and the rough, expressive drawings of Jean Tabary, the gimmick becomes a loopy existential labyrinth with surreal touches that appear to have sprouted from a Jorge Luis Borges short story. Ernesto Lechner, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Feb. 2024 Playwrights turn to language, theatrical metaphor and scenic choreography to expand the stage’s expressive potential. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024 In addition, a research review by the National Literacy Trust found that parental involvement in reading activities improves language comprehension, expressive language skills, and reading achievement. Sacramento Bee, 13 Feb. 2024 As the nervous Moon in your finance zone squares individualistic Uranus in your expressive 5th house, your first impulse might be to go wild. Tarot.com, Baltimore Sun, 9 Feb. 2024 In Bourne’s expressive, inventive hands, there is no sweet sorrow, only the reminder that there never was a tale of more woe. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, 2 Feb. 2024 Aromas transport one into a walk in the forest with notes of tree bark and morels with elegant red and black fruit on the palate with a fine-laced structure with a long, expressive finish, leaving wildflowers in one’s head. Cathrine Todd, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2024 The research team has advanced two main theories explaining how the domestication process contributed to expressive tails. Max Bennett, Discover Magazine, 7 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'expressive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of expressive was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near expressive

Cite this Entry

“Expressive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expressive. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

expressive

adjective
ex·​pres·​sive ik-ˈspres-iv How to pronounce expressive (audio)
1
: of or relating to expression
2
: serving to express
3
: full of expression
also : openly expressing one's feelings
an expressive face
expressively adverb
expressiveness noun

Legal Definition

expressive

adjective
ex·​pres·​sive
1
: of or relating to expression
2
: serving to express or represent
expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment
expressively adverb
expressiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on expressive

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