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verb (used with object)
  1. to put (thought) into words; utter or state: to express an idea clearly.
  2. to show, manifest, or reveal: to express one's anger.
  3. to set forth the opinions, feelings, etc., of (oneself), as in speaking, writing, or painting: He can express himself eloquently.
  4. to represent by a symbol, character, figure, or formula: to express water as H2O; to express unknown quantities algebraically.
  5. to send by express: to express a package or merchandise.
  6. to press or squeeze out: to express the juice of grapes.
  7. to exude or emit (a liquid, odor, etc.), as if under pressure: The roses expressed a sweet perfume.
  8. Genetics. (of a gene) to be active in the production of (a protein or a phenotype).
  1. clearly indicated; distinctly stated; definite; explicit; plain: He defied my express command.
  2. special; definite: We have an express purpose in being here.
  3. direct or fast, especially making few or no intermediate stops: an express train; an express elevator.
  4. used for direct or high-speed travel: an express highway.
  5. duly or exactly formed or represented: an express image.
  6. pertaining to an express: an express agency.
  1. an express train, bus, elevator, etc.
  2. a system or method of sending freight, parcels, money, etc., that is faster and safer, but more expensive, than ordinary freight service: We agree to send the package by express.
  3. a company engaged in this business.
  4. British. a messenger or a message specially sent.
  5. something sent by express.
  1. by express: to travel express.
  2. Obsolete. expressly.

Origin of express

1275–1325; Middle English expressen < Latin expressus (past participle of exprimere). See ex-1, press1
Related formsex·press·er, ex·pres·sor, nounex·press·i·ble, adjectiveex·press·less, adjectiveo·ver·ex·press, verb (used with object)pre·ex·press, verb (used with object)qua·si-ex·pressed, adjectivere·ex·press, verb (used with object)su·per·ex·press, nounun·ex·press·i·ble, adjectivewell-ex·pressed, adjective

Synonyms for express

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Antonyms for express Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for expressing

Contemporary Examples of expressing

Historical Examples of expressing

  • In "Lear," Shakespeare was intent on expressing his own disillusion and naked misery.

  • Hinde gaped at him, incapable of expressing himself with sufficient force.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Unused to expressing herself in public, she seemed to be feeling her way.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • Is it necessary that I should defend myself for expressing my displeasure?

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • She has been expressing her anxiety that you should return in time.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for expressing


verb (tr)
  1. to transform (ideas) into words; utter; verbalize
  2. to show or reveal; indicatetears express grief
  3. to communicate (emotion, etc) without words, as through music, painting, etc
  4. to indicate through a symbol, formula, etc
  5. to force or squeeze outto express the juice from an orange
  6. to send by rapid transport or special messenger
  7. express oneself to communicate one's thoughts or ideas
adjective (prenominal)
  1. clearly indicated or shown; explicitly statedan express wish
  2. done or planned for a definite reason or goal; particularan express purpose
  3. of, concerned with, or designed for rapid transportation of people, merchandise, mail, money, etcexpress delivery; an express depot
    1. a system for sending merchandise, mail, money, etc, rapidly
    2. merchandise, mail, etc, conveyed by such a system
    3. mainly US and Canadianan enterprise operating such a system
  1. Also called: express train a fast train stopping at none or only a few of the intermediate stations between its two termini
  2. See express rifle
  1. by means of a special delivery or express deliveryit went express
Derived Formsexpresser, nounexpressible, adjective

Word Origin for express

C14: from Latin expressus, literally: squeezed out, hence, prominent, from exprimere to force out, from ex- 1 + premere to press
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for expressing



late 14c., from Old French espresser "press, squeeze out; speak one's mind" (Modern French exprimer), Medieval Latin expressare, frequentative of exprimere "represent, describe," literally "to press out" (source of Italian espresso; the sense evolution here is perhaps via an intermediary sense of something like "clay that takes under pressure takes the form of an image"), from ex- "out" (see ex-) + pressare "to press, push," from Latin premere (see press (v.1)). Related: Expressed; expresses; expressing.



late 14c., from Old French expres, from Latin expressus "clearly presented," past participle of exprimere (see express (v.)). This led to the noun (first attested 1610s) meaning "special messenger." Sense of "business or system for sending money or parcels" is 1794. An express train (1841) originally ran to a certain station.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

expressing in Medicine


  1. To press or squeeze out.
  2. To produce a phenotype. Used of a gene.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.