noun im·pres·sion \ im-ˈpre-shən \
|Updated on: 16 Jul 2018

Definition of impression

1 a : a characteristic, trait, or feature resulting from some influence
  • the impression on behavior produced by the social milieu
b : an effect of alteration or improvement
  • the settlement left little impression on the wilderness
c : a telling image impressed on the senses or the mind
2 : the effect produced by impressing: such as
a : a stamp, form, or figure resulting from physical contact
b : an imprint of the teeth and adjacent portions of the jaw for use in dentistry
c : an especially marked and often favorable influence or effect on feeling, sense, or mind
3 : the act of impressing: such as
a : an affecting by stamping or pressing
b : a communicating of a mold, trait, or character by an external force or influence
4 a : the amount of pressure with which an inked printing surface deposits its ink on the paper
b : one instance of the meeting of a printing surface and the material being printed; also : a single print or copy so made
c : all the copies (as of a book) printed in one continuous operation from a single makeready
5 : an often indistinct or imprecise notion or remembrance
6 a : the first coat of color in painting
b : a coat of paint for ornament or preservation
7 : an imitation or representation of salient features in an artistic or theatrical medium; especially : an imitation in caricature of a noted personality as a form of theatrical entertainment

Examples of impression in a Sentence

  1. The candidate made a favorable impression.

  2. My first impression of him was that he was a kind and thoughtful young man.

  3. First impressions are important but can be misleading.

  4. In her journal, she recorded her impressions of the city.

  5. Her kindness left a lasting impression on her students.

  6. I got the distinct impression that they didn't mean to stay long.

Recent Examples of impression from the Web

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

First Known Use of impression

14th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1a

See Words from the same year
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Synonym Discussion of impression

idea, concept, conception, thought, notion, impression mean what exists in the mind as a representation (as of something comprehended) or as a formulation (as of a plan). idea may apply to a mental image or formulation of something seen or known or imagined, to a pure abstraction, or to something assumed or vaguely sensed.
    • innovative ideas
    • my idea of paradise
concept may apply to the idea formed by consideration of instances of a species or genus or, more broadly, to any idea of what a thing ought to be.
    • a society with no concept of private property
conception is often interchangeable with concept; it may stress the process of imagining or formulating rather than the result.
    • our changing conception of what constitutes art
thought is likely to suggest the result of reflecting, reasoning, or meditating rather than of imagining.
    • commit your thoughts to paper
notion suggests an idea not much resolved by analysis or reflection and may suggest the capricious or accidental.
    • you have the oddest notions
impression applies to an idea or notion resulting immediately from some stimulation of the senses.
    • the first impression is of soaring height

IMPRESSION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of impression for English Language Learners

  • : the effect or influence that something or someone has on a person's thoughts or feelings

  • : an idea or belief that is usually not clear or certain

  • : an appearance or suggestion of something

IMPRESSION Defined for Kids


noun im·pres·sion \ im-ˈpre-shən \

Definition of impression for Students

1 : something (as a design) made by pressing or stamping a surface
  • The tires made impressions in the mud.
2 : the effect that something or someone has on a person's thoughts or feelings
  • She shared her impressions of the city.
3 : an idea or belief that is usually uncertain
4 : an imitation of a famous person done for entertainment

Medical Dictionary


noun im·pres·sion \ im-ˈpresh-ən \

medical Definition of impression

1 : an imprint in plastic material of the surfaces of the teeth and adjacent portions of the jaw from which a likeness may be produced in dentistry
2 : an especially marked influence or effect on the senses or the mind

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one who attends or assists a leader

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