Definition of expressive in English:

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Pronunciation: /ikˈspresiv/


1Effectively conveying thought or feeling.
Example sentences
  • Bertie gave an expressive grunt, which conveyed his opinion that there was no accounting for tastes.
  • Sometimes the effects are so expressive you can't believe chance did this.
  • As passionate and expressive as she is in her acting roles, as an interviewee she can be extremely difficult.
eloquent, meaningful, demonstrative, suggestive
emotional, full of emotion/feeling, passionate, poignant, moving, stirring, evocative, powerful, emotionally charged
1.1 [predicative] (expressive of) Conveying (the specified quality or idea): the spires are expressive of religious aspiration
More example sentences
  • His ideas are no more expressive of sophistic thought than of some very ancient Greek traditions.
  • That idea of communality is not expressive of contemporary experience.
  • Note her definition of art as ‘the practice of creating perceptible forms expressive of human feeling.’
indicative, demonstrative, revealing



Pronunciation: /ikˈspresəvlē/ /ekˈspresəvlē/
Example sentences
  • The two women were engaged in animated conversation, the younger one gesturing expressively with well-tended hands and long-manicured fingers.
  • It made it possible for him to reinvent the face before him, depicting expressively, through curves and angles, the way the subject felt to him.
  • String players slid expressively from one note to the next - portamento, the style was called - in imitation of the slide of the voice.


Pronunciation: /ikˈspresivnəs/
Example sentences
  • Her beautiful looks and elegant acting were matched by rich tone, expressiveness, and virtuoso technique, which can be heard in her recordings.
  • We need to approach multimedia presentations with a sense of artistic expressiveness.
  • One of her ambitions as a young artist was to create on canvas the sweeping expressiveness of music, its ability to shift agilely from joyous to sorrowful to triumphant.


Pronunciation: /ˌekspreˈsivədē/
Example sentences
  • For me, the balance between power and expressivity seems just right.
  • Young girls typically play with one or two other girls in activities that foster their ‘learning emotional skills of empathy, emotional self-awareness, and emotional expressivity.’
  • The differences might arise from variations in expressivity of these morphological traits in the populations.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'tending to press out'): from French expressif, -ive or medieval Latin expressivus, from exprimere 'press out' (see express3). Compare with express1.

Words that rhyme with expressive

aggressive, compressive, concessive, degressive, depressive, digressive, excessive, impressive, obsessive, oppressive, possessive, progressive, recessive, regressive, repressive, retrogressive, successive, transgressive

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ex·pres·sive

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