impressionism

noun
im·pres·sion·ism | \im-ˈpre-shə-ˌni-zəm \

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, SI.com, "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.

See More

First Known Use of impressionism

1877, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about impressionism

Share impressionism

Statistics for impressionism

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impressionism

The first known use of impressionism was in 1877

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for impressionism

impressionism

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on impressionism

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

WORD OF THE DAY

one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!