im·​pres·​sion | \ im-ˈpre-shən How to pronounce impression (audio) \

Definition of impression

1 : the effect produced by impressing: such as
a : an especially marked and often favorable influence or effect on feeling, sense, or mind
b : a stamp, form, or figure resulting from physical contact
c : an imprint of the teeth and adjacent portions of the jaw for use in dentistry
2 : an often indistinct or imprecise notion or remembrance
3a : a telling image impressed on the senses or the mind
b : an effect of alteration or improvement The settlement left little impression on the wilderness.
c : a characteristic, trait, or feature resulting from some influence the impression on behavior produced by the social milieu
4 : 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
5 : 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
6 : page view especially : an instance in which a specific element (such as an advertisement) is displayed on a web page accessed by a user Although many consumers have never heard of ad tech firms, people's online activity is influenced every day by these companies as they battle for a share of ad impressions on phones, tablets, and laptops. — Claire Ballentine
7a : 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
8a : the first coat of color in painting
b : a coat of paint for ornament or preservation

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Synonyms for impression


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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of impression in a Sentence

The candidate made a favorable impression. My first impression of him was that he was a kind and thoughtful young man. First impressions are important but can be misleading. In her journal, she recorded her impressions of the city. Her kindness left a lasting impression on her students. I got the distinct impression that they didn't mean to stay long.
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Recent Examples on the Web Starmer has impressed as the leader of the opposition within the British Parliament but was unable to go out on the stump to make an impression around the country because of the pandemic. Pan Pylas, Star Tribune, "Super Thursday: Britain heads to polls in array of elections," 6 May 2021 Most polls showed his new Alba party struggling to make an impression. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "Scotland’s Feminist Schism," 5 May 2021 After all, when guest hosting in early April, the NFL quarterback did make a big impression on fans. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "'Jeopardy!' Twitter Has A Lot of Questions About the Show’s Permanent Host Announcement," 3 May 2021 Stove said Peters really seemed to make an impression at the Hula Bowl on both the coaches and players. Giana Han, al, "Jordyn Peters signs as an undrafted free agent," 2 May 2021 Companies only have one chance to make a positive first impression with new employees. Shannon Brooks, Forbes, "How To Avoid Onboarding Overload," 27 Apr. 2021 For Hernández, that offered a chance to make a second first impression with a group that excoriated him on social media last year. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "‘Chicharito’ scores first MLS hat trick in Galaxy’s victory over Red Bulls," 25 Apr. 2021 The size of the white-and-blue mansion does make an impression on visitors. Dallas News, "After 3 years on the market, Shaquille O’Neal’s Orlando mansion gets a makeover — with less Shaq," 23 Apr. 2021 The size of the white-and-blue mansion does make an impression on visitors. Trevor Fraser,, "3 years unsold, Shaquille O’Neal’s Orlando mansion gets a makeover, with less Shaq," 23 Apr. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of impression

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for impression

Time Traveler

The first known use of impression was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Impression.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for impression



English Language Learners Definition of impression

: 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


im·​pres·​sion | \ im-ˈpre-shən How to pronounce impression (audio) \

Kids Definition of impression

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


im·​pres·​sion | \ im-ˈpresh-ən How to pronounce impression (audio) \

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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