im·​pres·​sion | \im-ˈpre-shən \

Definition of impression 

1a : 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

4a : 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

6a : 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

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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

As someone who thinks the world has a deeply misguided impression of what extraordinary leaders look like, my hopes ran high. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Now on Broadway: SpongeBob ChauvinistPants," 11 July 2018 During these visits, participants tour Chinese military facilities and see various cities in China, taking in positive impressions of the country’s successful development story. Lina Benabdallah, Washington Post, "China-Africa military ties have deepened. Here are 4 things to know.," 6 July 2018 Professional boxers will judge contestants on costume, impression, and best Rocky quotes. Claire Wolters,, "Philly is celebrating America's birthday all week. Welcome to the party," 27 June 2018 Surely my mother’s questions are more practical, more connected to pragmatic concerns, than mine, which are based on hallucinatory impressions of time and space. Leslie Kendall Dye, Longreads, "City on a Hill," 23 June 2018 Tire impressions of the truck that allegedly dragged Coggins’ body back and forth under the power lines off rural Minter Road, where his body was found, were gone. Christian Boone, ajc, "Race takes center stage on Day One of Spalding cold case murder trial," 21 June 2018 After first releasing an artist’s impression of the little boy and then taking the rare step of releasing a photograph of the boy’s body, members of the public came forward. Alexia Fernandez,, "Boy Dubbed 'Little Jacob' Identified 8 Months After Body Washed Ashore, Mom & Girlfriend Arrested," 20 June 2018 This was the episode where Grande did her spot-on impression of Jennifer Lawrence that was my religion for approximately two weeks. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "A Timeline of Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson’s 0 to 100 Relationship," 12 June 2018 Audience member Manuelo Torres also had a positive impression of the pop duo. Elena Weissmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Emerging Artist Series performers infuse youthful energy and soul into Summerfest," 3 July 2018

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 1a

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Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for impression

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

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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 \

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 \

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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Comments on impression

What made you want to look up impression? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express warning or disapproval

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