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?”

Definitions of expression
  1. noun

    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
    see moresee less


    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

  2. noun

    expression without words

    “tears are an
    expression of grief”
    manifestation, reflection, reflexion
    see moresee less


    show 7 types…
    hide 7 types…
    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

  3. noun

    the style of expressing yourself

    “his manner of
    expression showed how much he cared”
    see moresee less


    show 12 types…
    hide 12 types…

    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

  4. noun

    a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations

    “pardon the
    locution, saying
    see moresee less


    show 31 types…
    hide 31 types…

    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

  5. noun

    the feelings expressed on a person’s face

    “a sad
    aspect, face, facial expression, look
    see moresee less



    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

  6. noun

    a group of symbols that make a mathematical statement

    see moresee less


    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

  7. noun

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

    construction, grammatical construction
    see moresee less



    an ungrammatical constituent

    show 17 types…
    hide 17 types…

    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

  8. noun

    (genetics) the process of expressing a gene

    see moresee less

    type of:

    biological process, organic process

    a process occurring in living organisms

  9. noun

    the act of forcing something out by squeezing or pressing

    expression of milk from her breast”
    see moresee less

    type of:

    squeeze, squeezing

    the act of gripping and pressing firmly

Word Family