ex·​pres·​sive | \ ik-ˈspre-siv How to pronounce expressive (audio) \

Definition of expressive

1 : of or relating to expression the expressive function of language
2 : serving to express, utter, or represent foul and novel terms expressive of rage— H. G. Wells
3 : effectively conveying meaning or feeling an expressive silence expressive line drawings

Other Words from expressive

expressively adverb
expressiveness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for expressive



  • unexpressive
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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 And to be acting off of a synthetic actor sometimes too, to bring that level of depth and feeling when your acting partner is a little mono expressive, is impressive. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 13 May 2022 To make tactile words even more expressive, the pair gradually expanded the canvas of touch to include the back, arms, lower thighs, and upper chest. Andrew Leland, The New Yorker, 12 May 2022 The characters—a pair of teen boys falling in love—were adorably expressive, all wide eyes and furtive glances captured in fine strokes. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 11 May 2022 Over the course of his time working on the series, Pérez attracted attention for his dynamic page layouts, honing his detailed, expressive style. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 7 May 2022 But traces of de Rosen’s typically expressive faces, painted from real-life models, and his sinuous lines depicting the Jordan River remain, and the gold leaf surrounding the mural and decorating the vaulted ceiling still gleams. New York Times, 5 May 2022 With an expressive visage that's often compared to a human face, these dogs are known for their intelligence, sense of humor, and self-importance. Jamie Ballard, Woman's Day, 3 May 2022 The Marshall brand is a true rock legend and that distinctive and expressive sound combines with a stage presence that has inspired music fans for more than five decades. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 3 May 2022 Education The Anchorage School District has updated its policy that allows students during graduation to wear items expressive of their cultural heritage and identity. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, 2 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'expressive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of expressive

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for expressive

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

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Dictionary Entries Near expressive

express itself/themselves



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Statistics for expressive

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Expressive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for expressive


ex·​pres·​sive | \ ik-ˈspre-siv How to pronounce expressive (audio) \

Kids Definition of expressive

1 : showing emotions : full of expression expressive eyes
2 : making something known Her story is expressive of her mood.

Other Words from expressive

expressively adverb



Legal Definition of expressive

1 : of or relating to expression
2 : serving to express or represent expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment

Other Words from expressive

expressively adverb
expressiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on expressive

Nglish: Translation of expressive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expressive for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about expressive


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