Think of the verb impress as "leaving a mark." You might impress a print onto canvas, or you might impress prospective employers in a job interview. Whether that impression will be good or bad is up to you!

The past participle of the Latin verb imprimere, "to press," is impressus, which evolved in the 14th century to the meaning "to make a permanent image." The word then came to be used figuratively, as when your parents impress upon you the importance of being honest or when you impress the judges at a diving competition. Impress can also mean to conscript someone into the army.

Definitions of impress
  1. verb
    have an emotional or cognitive impact upon
    “This child impressed me as unusually mature”
    synonyms: affect, move, strike
    actuate, incentivize, incite, motivate, move, prompt, propel
    give an incentive for action
    come to, hit, strike
    cause to experience suddenly
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    affect in a contagious way
    cause to be surprised
    ingrain, instill
    produce or try to produce a vivid impression of
    make aware
    impress or affect deeply
    strike dumb
    render speechless, as by surprising or shocking
    strike suddenly and with force
    affect in a disagreeable way
    hit home, strike a chord, strike a note, strike home
    refer to or be relevant or familiar to
    affect suddenly with deep feeling
    make gloomy or depressed
    move or affect (a person's emotions or bodily feelings) deeply or sharply
    sweep away, sweep off
    overwhelm emotionally
    disturb, trouble, upset
    move deeply
    stir, touch
    affect emotionally
    arouse sympathy or compassion in
    make unhappy
    make withdrawn or isolated or emotionally dissociated
    amaze, astonish, astound
    affect with wonder
    explode a bombshell
    utter or do something surprising
    discover or come upon accidentally, suddenly, or unexpectedly; catch somebody doing something or in a certain state
    boggle, bowl over, flabbergast
    overcome with amazement
    agitate, charge, charge up, commove, excite, rouse, turn on
    cause to be agitated, excited, or roused
    disturb (someone's) composure
    cark, disorder, disquiet, distract, perturb, trouble, unhinge
    disturb in mind or make uneasy or cause to be worried or alarmed
    make a positive impression (on someone) beforehand
    impress greatly
    evoke an emotional response
    cause mental pain to
    ball over, blow out of the water, floor, shock, startle, take aback
    surprise greatly; knock someone's socks off
    weigh down, weigh on
    be oppressive or disheartening to
  2. verb
    produce or try to produce a vivid impression of
    synonyms: ingrain, instill
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    type of:
    affect, move, strike
    have an emotional or cognitive impact upon
  3. verb
    impress positively
    “The young chess player impressed her audience”
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    make a positive impression (on someone) beforehand
    impress greatly
    type of:
    affect, move, strike
    have an emotional or cognitive impact upon
  4. noun
    the act of coercing someone into government service
    synonyms: impressment
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    type of:
    the taking possession of something by legal process
  5. verb
    reproduce by printing
    synonyms: print
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    set down or print with letters
    set, typeset
    set in type
    take a trial impression of
    produce by offset printing
    overprint, print over
    print (additional text or colors) onto an already imprinted paper
    print with an implement with small toothed wheels that cuts small holes in a stencil
    print in boldface
    italicise, italicize
    print in italics
    print a new denomination on a stamp or a banknote
    type of:
    mark or trace on a surface
  6. verb
    mark or stamp with or as if with pressure
    “To make a batik, you impress a design with wax”
    synonyms: imprint
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    to mark, or produce an imprint in or on something
    boss, emboss, stamp
    raise in a relief
    date, date stamp
    stamp with a date
    handstamp, rubberstamp
    stamp with a rubber stamp, usually an indication of official approval on a document
    frank, postmark
    stamp with a postmark to indicate date and time of mailing
    stamp or emboss a title or design on a book with a block
    type of:
    change surface
    undergo or cause to undergo a change in the surface
  7. verb
    take (someone) against his will for compulsory service, especially on board a ship
    synonyms: shanghai
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    type of:
    abduct, kidnap, nobble, snatch
    take away to an undisclosed location against their will and usually in order to extract a ransom
  8. verb
    dye (fabric) before it is spun
    synonyms: yarn-dye
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    type of:
    color with dye
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