Pronunciation key

( iks-preshən )



[L. expressio < expressus; see EXPRESS adj].

  1. Pressing or squeezing out, such as liquid.
  2. Stating something; putting into words; representing thoughts in form of spoken or written language. Something that expresses or communicates.
  3. Illustrating, representation or symbolizing to convey a theme through speaking, writing, art, music, movement or another creative medium. Manifestation.
  4. The manner one chooses to communicate with, especially when constructed in a meaningful and eloquent manner such as speaking, singing, etc.
  5. A particular word, phrase or sentence such as a slang expression or catch cold is an expression known as an idiom.
  6. Show of emotion, such as laughter. Display of feelings, character, etc. such as an expression of love.
  7. A facial aspect such as a look or intonation which conveys a feeling; a glare, smile, etc. Outward manifestation of a mood or disposition.
  8. Algebra. Symbol or set of symbols, that imply algebraic fact such as quantities or an operation. Designation of symbols in mathematical form such as an equation.
  9. To show by using a symbol, sign, figures, etc.

Exemplification of emotional and spiritual qualities through the medium of music; tempo, accent, time, the level of softness or loud. In modern artistic compositions these are indicated by the composer, however substantial room is permitted for individual interpretation. These qualities were recognized in the 17th and 18th century when composers such as Bach and Handel rarely ever commented on them. Domenico Mazzochi is the first to have used the terms crescendo and diminuendo in 1636.

Expression in other forms of art are achieved by proper used of the forms available to the artist. Therefore, a painter will use color, texture and shape to evoke particular emotional response. The poet uses meter, cadence and verbal contrast. The dramatist, not unlike the composer, leaves interpretation to the skills of the actor to do the interpreting and the technical crew who create the setting for the drama.


  • Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (College Edition) ©1955
  • The American Peoples Encyclopedia ©1960
  • The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition ©1985
  • Related Terms

  • express
  • expressage
  • expressible
  • expressionism
  • expressionist
  • expressionistic
  • expressionistically
  • expressionless
  • expressive
  • expressivity
  • expressly
  • expressman
  • express rifle
  • express train
  • Further Reading

  • Gene Expression
  • Hand Expression vs. Nursing, Stanford School of Medicine
  • Math Expression
  • Expression, Use in a Sentence.
  • Expression Oxford Dictionary
  • Expression Biology Online
  • Freedom of Expression Business Dictionary
  • Expression (Definition)
  • Expression (Definition)
  • Expression (Definition)
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