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 Progress is hampered by the impression that hydrogen is likely to explode, an idea cemented by the 1937 burning of the Hindenburg. New York Times, "The Gospel of Hydrogen Power," 28 Dec. 2020 Akradi said his larger concern is the beating the industry has suffered at the hands of public officials who give the impression that clubs aren't safe. Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune, "Minnesota's fitness industry pushes state officials to let them reopen gyms," 10 Dec. 2020 But conservationists worried that people would get the impression that the dolphin itself was the enemy, especially near the riverside. Sushma Subramanian, The Atlantic, "The Dolphin Myth That Refuses to Die," 12 Nov. 2020 And developments in the past two days gave some Trump opponents the impression that a kind of slow-motion power grab is in the works. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "The dangers of Trump’s last stand," 11 Nov. 2020 Depp has another defamation trial pending against Heard regarding a Washington Post column proclaiming herself a victim of domestic abuse and leaving the strong impression that Depp was the alleged abuser. Rasha Ali, USA TODAY, "Johnny Depp exits 'Fantastic Beasts' franchise: 'I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros.'," 6 Nov. 2020 Early voting will continue in South Florida through Sunday, despite a tweet from a voter information site that may be giving some voters the impression that Saturday is the final day. David Fleshler,, "Despite tweet, early voting continues through Sunday in South Florida," 31 Oct. 2020 Masks keep us all safe, news outlets should be reporting that fact, not giving readers the impression that there is room for disagreement. Ann Norman, cleveland, "How do you feel about wearing face masks?," 23 Oct. 2020 But absent that context, these statistics can produce the impression that the difference is behavioral or biological. Caitlin Harrington, Wired, "Your ‘Ethnicity Estimate’ Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does," 2 Oct. 2020

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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Statistics for impression

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for impression


How to pronounce impression (audio)

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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