Something that is impressive stands out because it is really good. Some of the most impressive college application essays are those that reflect on past events that shaped who the writer is today.

When you impress someone, you show that you are special or that what you did is praiseworthy. So something that's impressive does just that, like the impressive feat of running a marathon every week for a year. The earliest meaning of impressive was "capable of being easily impressed," from the Latin word impressus, "imprint or stamp." By around 1775, the meaning had changed to "making a strong impression on."

Definitions of impressive
  1. adjective
    making a strong or vivid impression
    “an impressive ceremony”
    amazing, awe-inspiring, awesome, awful, awing
    inspiring awe or admiration or wonder
    arresting, sensational, stunning
    commanding attention
    astonishing, astounding, staggering, stupefying
    so surprisingly impressive as to stun or overwhelm
    baronial, imposing, noble, stately
    impressive in appearance
    dazzling, eye-popping, fulgurant, fulgurous
    amazingly impressive; suggestive of the flashing of lightning
    dramatic, spectacular, striking
    sensational in appearance or thrilling in effect
    expansive, grand, heroic
    of behavior that is impressive and ambitious in scale or scope
    extremely impressive in strength or excellence
    gallant, lofty, majestic, proud
    having or displaying great dignity or nobility
    brilliant, glorious, magnificent, splendid
    characterized by grandeur
    impressive because of unnecessary largeness or grandeur; used to show disapproval
    impressive in appearance
    intellectually or emotionally overwhelming
    suitable for or like a palace
    notably out of the ordinary
    extraordinarily big or impressive
    arousing or capable of arousing deep emotion
    see moresee less
    not capable of impressing
    lacking in impressiveness
    marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful
    show more antonyms...
  2. adjective
    producing a strong effect
    “gave an impressive performance as Othello”
    synonyms: telling
    effective, effectual, efficacious
    producing or capable of producing an intended result or having a striking effect
Word Family