[ ik-spresh-uhn ]
See synonyms for: expressionexpressionsexpressionless on

  1. the act of expressing or setting forth in words: the free expression of political opinions.

  2. a particular word, phrase, or form of words: old-fashioned expressions.

  1. the manner or form in which a thing is expressed in words; wording; phrasing: delicacy of expression.

  2. the power of expressing in words: joy beyond expression.

  3. indication of feeling, spirit, character, etc., as on the face, in the voice, or in artistic execution: the lyric expression embodied in his poetry.

  4. a look or intonation expressing personal reaction, feeling, etc.: a shocked expression.

  5. the quality or power of expressing an attitude, emotion, etc.: a face that lacks expression; to read with expression.

  6. the act of expressing or representing, as by symbols.

  7. Mathematics. a symbol or a combination of symbols representing a value, relation, or the like.

  8. Linguistics. the stylistic characteristics of an utterance (opposed to meaning).

  9. Linguistics. the system of verbal utterances specific to a language (opposed to content1).

  10. the act of expressing or pressing out.

  11. Computers. a combination of variables, constants, and functions linked by operation symbols and any required punctuation that describe a rule for calculating a value.

  12. Genetics.

Origin of expression

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English, from Latin expressiōn- (stem of expressiō) “a pressing out.” See express, -ion

synonym study For expression

2. See phrase.

Other words for expression

Other words from expression

  • ex·pres·sion·al, adjective
  • ex·pres·sion·less, adjective
  • ex·pres·sion·less·ly, adverb
  • pre·ex·pres·sion, noun
  • re·ex·pres·sion, noun
  • su·per·ex·pres·sion, noun

Words Nearby expression Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use expression in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for expression


/ (ɪkˈsprɛʃən) /

  1. the act or an instance of transforming ideas into words

  2. a manifestation of an emotion, feeling, etc, without words: tears are an expression of grief

  1. communication of emotion through music, painting, etc

  2. a look on the face that indicates mood or emotion: a joyful expression

  3. the choice of words, phrases, syntax, intonation, etc, in communicating

  4. a particular phrase used conventionally to express something: a dialect expression

  5. the act or process of forcing or squeezing out a liquid

  6. maths a variable, function, or some combination of constants, variables, or functions

  7. genetics the effect of a particular gene on the phenotype

Derived forms of expression

  • expressional, adjective
  • expressionless, adjective
  • expressionlessly, adverb

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