im·​pres·​sion·​ism | \ im-ˈpre-shə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce impressionism (audio) \

Definition of impressionism

1 often capitalized : a theory or practice in painting especially among French painters of about 1870 of depicting the natural appearances of objects by means of dabs or strokes of primary unmixed colors in order to simulate actual reflected light
2a : the depiction (as in literature) of scene, emotion, or character by details intended to achieve a vividness or effectiveness more by evoking subjective and sensory impressions than by recreating an objective reality
b : a style of musical composition designed to create subtle moods and impressions

Examples of impressionism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Ironically, Dreher's 20-year art career has focused on impressionism and landscapes. Dennis Sullivan, Daily Southtown, "New mural in Crete opens a window into historic building's past," 6 July 2018 This year’s lineup includes mystery, comedy, religion, impressions, impressionism, a tragic Donald Trump and a documentary piece based on interviews with women who served in the Vietnam War. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "10 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 5 July 2018 Artistic movements like impressionism, cubism, and naturalism reflected a growing distrust of the eye’s ability to see and know the world. Allain Daigle, The Atlantic, "How the 50-mm Lens Became ‘Normal’," 13 May 2018 The bulk of the album consists of original works steeped in the delicate feel of romanticism and impressionism with the unmistakable influences of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Chicago keyboardist Rob Clearfield forges a jazz-classical hybrid of weightless sophistication," 23 Feb. 2018 But for all its ethereal whooshing and surrealist impressionism, this season of Twin Peaks is some of Lynch’s most grounded, humane, and contemporary work. Theodore Kupfer, National Review, "The American Genius of," 2 Sep. 2017 Then on the other day, the focus shifts to Twilight in Paris, which will explore French composers like Débussy and Ravel who helped define musical impressionism. Hive, The Seattle Times, "Get outside and enjoy Seattle," 10 Aug. 2017 If Doncic is mysterious, so were both World Wars, impressionism and the day-to-day affairs of the Pope. Jeremy Woo,, "Luka Doncic: Europe's Next Big Thing," 10 Aug. 2017 His third haute fourrure show might have been held in the Art Deco environs of the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, but the stage was merely a backdrop to a collection that was a master class in transforming the tenets of impressionism into clothing. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "At Couture Fashion Week, An Antidote to the Instagram Age," 8 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impressionism.' 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 impressionism

1877, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of impressionism was in 1877

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English Language Learners Definition of impressionism

: a style of painting that began in France around 1870, that uses spots of color to show the effects of different kinds of light, and that attempts to capture the feeling of a scene rather than specific details

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