The look on your face — sad, happy, bored, amused — is an expression. Your expression lets people know what you're feeling, unless you're good at hiding your emotions.

Expression comes from a Latin word meaning “to press out” and it can still be used this way. If you make fresh orange juice, your juicer helps with the expression of the juice from the fruit. If someone uses art to express their feelings about the world, that's artistic self-expression: something felt inside has been brought out and shared. We also use expression for ways of saying something, like the expression "what's up?"

Primary Meanings of expression

the communication (in speech or writing) of your beliefs or opinions
a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations
the feelings expressed on a person's face
a group of symbols that make a mathematical statement
(genetics) the process of expressing a gene
the act of forcing something out by squeezing or pressing
Full Definitions of expression

n the communication (in speech or writing) of your beliefs or opinions

expressions of good will”
“he helped me find verbal expression for my ideas”
verbal expression, verbalism
articulation, voice
expressing in coherent verbal form
cold turkey
a blunt expression of views
congratulation, felicitation
(usually plural) an expression of pleasure at the success or good fortune of another
Type of:
communicating, communication
the activity of communicating; the activity of conveying information

n expression without words

“tears are an expression of grief”
manifestation, reflection, reflexion
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lamentation, mourning
the passionate and demonstrative activity of expressing grief
a manifestation of insincerity
blowup, ebullition, effusion, gush, outburst
an unrestrained expression of emotion
acting out
a (usually irritating) impulsive and uncontrollable outburst by a problem child or a neurotic adult
a fit of weeping
a sudden outburst
a sudden outburst of emotion
Type of:
demo, demonstration
a visual presentation showing how something works

n the style of expressing yourself

“his manner of expression showed how much he cared”
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the excessive expression of tender feelings, nostalgia, or sadness in any form
an expression of respect
archaicism, archaism
the use of an archaic expression
standard formulations uniformly found in certain types of legal documents or news stories
a colloquial expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech
idiom, parlance
a manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of a language
an expression that is characteristic of English as spoken by Americans
Anglicism, Briticism, Britishism
an expression that is used in Great Britain (especially as contrasted with American English)
choice of words, diction, phraseology, phrasing, verbiage, wording
the manner in which something is expressed in words
glop, mush, slop, treacle
writing or music that is excessively sweet and sentimental
mot juste
the appropriate word or expression
verbalisation, verbalization
the words that are spoken in the activity of verbalization
Type of:
expressive style, style
a way of expressing something (in language or art or music etc.) that is characteristic of a particular person or group of people or period

n a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations

“pardon the expression
locution, saying
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one of the eight sayings of Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount; in Latin each saying begins with `beatus' (blessed)
a saying of Jesus that is regarded as authentic although it is not recorded in the Gospels
calque, calque formation, loan translation
an expression introduced into one language by translating it from another language
advice and consent
a legal expression in the United States Constitution that allows the Senate to constrain the President's powers of appointment and treaty-making
an expression whose meaning cannot be determined from its context
an inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh
an offensive or disparaging expression that is substituted for an inoffensive one
an expression of disappointment or irritation
tongue twister
an expression that is difficult to articulate clearly
anatomical, anatomical reference
an expression that relates to anatomy
a locution or pronunciation peculiar to the southern United States
catchword, motto, shibboleth, slogan
a favorite saying of a sect or political group
axiom, maxim
a saying that is widely accepted on its own merits
epigram, quip
a witty saying
adage, byword, proverb, saw
a condensed but memorable saying embodying some important fact of experience that is taken as true by many people
idiom, idiomatic expression, phrasal idiom, phrase, set phrase
an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up
sayings of Jesus not recorded in the canonical Gospels
a correct expression that takes the place of a popular but incorrect expression
bus, heap, jalopy
a car that is old and unreliable
an ambiguity (especially one in the text of a law or contract) that makes it possible to evade a difficulty or obligation
amphibology, amphiboly
an ambiguous grammatical construction; e.g., `they are flying planes' can mean either that someone is flying planes or that something is flying planes
the use of ambiguous words
double entendre
an ambiguity with one interpretation that is indelicate
catch phrase, catchphrase
a phrase that has become a catchword
a commonly repeated word or phrase
battle cry, cry, rallying cry, war cry, watchword
a slogan used to rally support for a cause
aphorism, apophthegm, apothegm
a short pithy instructive saying
a short pithy saying expressing a general truth
a moral maxim
ruralism, rusticism
a rural idiom or expression
old man
an informal term for your father
Type of:
language, oral communication, speech, speech communication, spoken communication, spoken language, voice communication
(language) communication by word of mouth

n the feelings expressed on a person's face

“a sad expression
aspect, face, facial expression, look
a suggestive or sneering look or grin
light, spark, sparkle, twinkle
merriment expressed by a brightness or gleam or animation of countenance
Type of:
countenance, visage
the appearance conveyed by a person's face

n a group of symbols that make a mathematical statement

sentential function
formal expression containing variables; becomes a sentence when variables are replaced by constants
a mathematical expression from which another expression is derived
exponential expression
a mathematical expression consisting of a constant (especially e) raised to some power
Type of:
mathematical statement
a statement of a mathematical relation

n a group of words that form a constituent of a sentence and are considered as a single unit

construction, grammatical construction
an ungrammatical constituent
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a construction that can be used to extend the meaning of a word or phrase but is not one of the main constituents of a sentence
(grammar) an expression including a subject and predicate but not constituting a complete sentence
a word or phrase used to complete a grammatical construction
a long and intricate and complicated grammatical construction
an expression consisting of one or more words forming a grammatical constituent of a sentence
an expression that predicates
independent clause, main clause
a clause in a complex sentence that can stand alone as a complete sentence
coordinate clause
a clause in a complex sentence that is grammatically equivalent to the main clause and that performs the same grammatical function
dependent clause, subordinate clause
a clause in a complex sentence that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence and that functions within the sentence as a noun or adjective or adverb
relative clause
a clause introduced by a relative pronoun
parenthetical, parenthetical expression
an expression in parentheses
nominal, nominal phrase, noun phrase
a phrase that can function as the subject or object of a verb
predicate, verb phrase
one of the two main constituents of a sentence; the predicate contains the verb and its complements
prepositional phrase
a phrase beginning with a preposition
pronominal, pronominal phrase
a phrase that functions as a pronoun
a phrase recited or sung by the congregation following a versicle by the priest or minister
catch phrase, catchphrase
a phrase that has become a catchword
Type of:
constituent, grammatical constituent
(grammar) a word or phrase or clause forming part of a larger grammatical construction

n (genetics) the process of expressing a gene

Type of:
biological process, organic process
a process occurring in living organisms

n the act of forcing something out by squeezing or pressing

“the expression of milk from her breast”
Type of:
squeeze, squeezing
the act of gripping and pressing firmly

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