Definition of expression in English:

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Pronunciation: /ikˈspreSHən/


1The process of making known one’s thoughts or feelings: his views found expression in his moral sermons she accepted his expressions of sympathy
More example sentences
  • It found expression in ruthless exclusivism and hegemony.
  • It's as if everything inside me has found expression all at once.
  • The bipartisan contempt for the needs of the working class also found expression in the reaction to the mayor's latest housing proposals.
utterance, uttering, voicing, pronouncement, declaration, articulation, assertion, setting forth;
dissemination, circulation, communication, spreading, promulgation
indication, demonstration, show, exhibition, token;
communication, illustration, revelation
1.1The conveying of feeling in the face or voice, in a work of art, or in the performance of a piece of music: eyes empty of expression their instruments have a rich variety of expression
More example sentences
  • For anyone who cares about music or artistic expression these presentations are riveting.
  • Similar to the way that dance relies to a great extent on music for rhythm and expression, dance in this piece wouldn't work without the set.
  • Ask any musician and they will tell you that music is about expression and conveying emotion.
emotion, feeling, spirit, passion, intensity;
style, intonation, tone
2The look on someone’s face that conveys a particular emotion: a sad expression
More example sentences
  • Walter sat and watched Richard's pensive face as he read, which eventually led to an expression of horror and fury.
  • Jade nodded with a contemplative expression and led him down to the lower floors.
  • Miguel saw her happy facial expression falter and knew something was up.
look, appearance, air, manner, countenance, mien
3A word or phrase, especially an idiomatic one, used to convey an idea: nowhere is the expression “garbage in, garbage out” any truer
More example sentences
  • The first two are internal, one with simple word stems and the other with complex or idiomatic expressions.
  • The emphasis is on learning simple words and expressions while building vocabulary rather than grammar.
  • We all start out using the simplest expressions and watch our phrases become increasingly more precise.
idiom, phrase, idiomatic expression;
proverb, saying, adage, maxim, axiom, aphorism, saw, motto, platitude, cliché
3.1 Mathematics A collection of symbols that jointly express a quantity: the expression for the circumference of a circle is 2πr
More example sentences
  • The first book studies generating functions and also approximations to various expressions occurring in probability theory.
  • Napier also found exponential expressions for trigonometric functions, and introduced the decimal notation for fractions.
  • The function is also most often described using a formula, in the form of an algebraic expression.
4The production of something, especially by pressing or squeezing it out: essential oils obtained by distillation or expression
squeezing, pressing, extraction, extracting
5 Genetics The appearance in a phenotype of a characteristic or effect attributed to a particular gene.
Example sentences
  • These two genes are both thought to be very important in the expression of the malignant phenotype.
  • All six genes putatively involved in biosynthetic processes have detectable expression.
  • As gene frequencies change, natural selection acts on the outcome, the expression of those genes.
5.1 (also gene expression) The process by which possession of a gene leads to the appearance in the phenotype of the corresponding character.
Example sentences
  • This process of gene expression occurs in all organisms, from bacteria to plants to humans.
  • These mechanisms are crucial links between the molecular biology of gene expression and life-history.
  • Natural selection acts on multiple processes to optimize gene expression.



Pronunciation: /ekˈspreSHnəl/
Example sentences
  • His procedure was most carefully calculated in every respect to attain the maximum expressional power possible.
  • This narrative style is maintained throughout, with the expressional sophistication laid over the voices by often colourful orchestral means.
  • Throughout the book, she demonstrates the usefulness of drawing as an expressional tool for patients who are unable or unwilling to express themselves through the conventional use of language.


Late Middle English: from Latin expressio(n-), from exprimere 'press out, express'. Compare with express1.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ex·pres·sion

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