[ ik-spres-iv ]
See synonyms for: expressiveexpressiveness on

  1. full of expression; meaningful: an expressive shrug.

  2. serving to express; indicative of power to express: a look expressive of gratitude.

  1. of, relating to, or concerned with expression: Dance is a highly expressive art.

  2. Sociology. (of a crowd or group) engaging in nonpurposeful activity of an expressive and often rhythmic nature, as weeping, dancing, or shouting.: Compare active (def. 15), orgiastic (def. 3).

  3. Linguistics. of or relating to forms in which sounds denote a semantic field directly and nonarbitrarily, through sound symbolism based, to some degree, on synesthesia, as observable in onomatopoeia, rhyming and gradational compounds, and emotionally charged words such as hypocoristics and pejoratives.

Origin of expressive

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Middle French; see express, -ive

synonym study For expressive

See eloquent.

Other words from expressive

  • ex·pres·sive·ly, adverb
  • ex·pres·sive·ness, noun
  • an·ti·ex·pres·sive, adjective
  • an·ti·ex·pres·sive·ly, adverb
  • an·ti·ex·pres·sive·ness, noun
  • non·ex·pres·sive, adjective
  • non·ex·pres·sive·ly, adverb
  • non·ex·pres·sive·ness, noun
  • o·ver·ex·pres·sive, adjective
  • o·ver·ex·pres·sive·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·ex·pres·sive·ness, noun
  • pre·ex·pres·sive, adjective
  • su·per·ex·pres·sive, adjective
  • su·per·ex·pres·sive·ly, adverb
  • su·per·ex·pres·sive·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use expressive in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for expressive


/ (ɪkˈsprɛsɪv) /

  1. of, involving, or full of expression

  2. (postpositive foll by of) indicative or suggestive (of): a look expressive of love

  1. having a particular meaning, feeling, or force; significant

Derived forms of expressive

  • expressively, adverb
  • expressiveness, noun

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