Definition of expression noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ɪkˈspreʃn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪkˈspreʃn//
    Linguistic devices, Face, Facial expressions
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    showing feelings/ideas
  1. 1  [uncountable, countable] things that people say, write or do in order to show their feelings, opinions and ideas Freedom of expression (= freedom to say what you think) is a basic human right. (formal) The poet's anger finds expression in (= is shown in) the last verse of the poem. The riots are the most serious expression of anti-government feeling yet. Only in his dreams does he give expression to his fears. Their frustration needs some form of expression. an expression of support Expressions of sympathy flooded in from all over the country.
  2. on face
  3. 2  [countable] a look on a person’s face that shows their thoughts or feelings synonym look There was a worried expression on her face. an expression of amazement/disbelief/horror His expression changed from surprise to one of amusement. The expression in her eyes told me something was wrong. facial expressions Wordfinderbeam, expression, frown, grimace, grin, leer, scowl, smirk, sneer, wince See related entries: Face, Facial expressions
  4. words
  5. 3  [countable] a word or phrase an old-fashioned expression (informal) He's a pain in the butt, if you'll pardon the expression. Her writing is full of colourful expressions. Synonymswordterm phrase expression idiomThese are all words for a unit of language used to express something.word a single unit of language which means something and can be spoken or written:Do not write more than 200 words. He uses a lot of long words.term (rather formal) a word or phrase used as the name of something, especially one connected with a particular type of language:technical/​legal/​scientific terms ‘Old man’ is a slang term for ‘father’.phrase a group of words which have a particular meaning when used together:Who coined the phrase ‘desktop publishing’? In grammar, a phrase is a group of words without a finite verb, especially one that forms part of a sentence: ‘the green car’ and ‘on Friday morning’ are phrases.expression a word or phrase:He tends to use a lot of slang expressions that I’ve never heard before.idiom a group of words whose meaning is different from the meanings of the individual words:‘Let the cat out of the bag’ is an idiom meaning to tell a secret by mistake.Patterns a word/​term for something a new word/​term/​phrase/​expression a technical/​colloquial word/​term/​phrase/​expression a slang word/​term/​phrase an idiomatic phrase/​expression to use a(n) word/​term/​phrase/​expression/​idiom to coin a(n) word/​term/​phrase/​expression a(n) word/​term/​phrase/​expression/​idiom means something See related entries: Linguistic devices
  6. in music/acting
  7. 4[uncountable] a strong show of feeling when you are playing music, speaking, acting, etc. Try to put a little more expression into it! She plays the violin with great expression.
  8. mathematics
  9. 5[countable] a group of signs that represent an idea or a quantity
  10. Word Originlate Middle English: from Latin expressio(n-), from exprimere ‘press out, express’. Compare with express(verb).Extra examples A constitution is the written expression of the people’s will. A surprised expression appeared on her face. Catching a fleeting expression on Lucy’s face, she persisted with her question. Freedom of expression is a basic human right. Freedom of expression= freedom to say what you think is a basic human right. Harvest festival was the occasion for the collective expression of a community’s religious values. He cracks jokes with a deadpan expression on his face. He hung around with this pathetic hangdog expression on his face. He looked at her with a very strange expression in his eyes. He tends to use strange expressions like ‘It’s enough to make a cat laugh’. He wanted to write a verse drama in which the verse would seem a natural expression of modern life. He wore an expression of anxiety on his face. Her expression betrayed nothing of her thoughts. Her expression hardened into one of strong dislike. Her expression suddenly turned serious. Her statement was a clear expression of her views on this subject. His expression changed to embarrassment. His expression grew thoughtful. His expression softened when he saw her. His face never changed expression. His face showed no expression. His grim expression told her it would be useless. His highest expression of praise was ‘Not bad!’ I looked at her, trying to read the expression on her face. I’ve not heard that expression before. Just because there is no direct expression of prejudice, that does not mean the prejudice does not exist. Modernism was the characteristic expression of the experience of modernity. Only in his dreams does he give expression to his fears. Rose’s face took on the fierce expression of a schoolgirl talking about her most hated teacher. She carefully put on her most innocent expression. She had a very bewildered expression on her face. She had been watching the expression that crossed his face. She suddenly felt happy beyond expression. Suddenly her deeper feelings demanded expression. The actors’s gestures and facial expressions are perfect. The children’s faces all wore the same rapt expression. The method is to listen to the music and allow expression to whatever comes to you. The new concept of form reached its fullest expression in the work of Picasso. The report gave concrete expression to the fears of many immigrants. They all just looked at me with blank expressions. Until the mid-nineteenth century, ‘Italy’ was just a geographical expression. Words, as a means of expression, can be limiting. an anger and frustration that finds expression in violence an anger and frustration that finds expression in= is shown in violence the highest expression of human creativity the open expression of emotion the outward expression of inner emotional feelings the right of free expression the verbal expression of one’s feelings to allow scope for individual expression He tends to use a lot of slang expressions that I’ve never heard before. He’s a pain in the butt, if you’ll pardon the expression. The poet’s anger finds expression in the last verse of the poem. The riots are the most serious expression of anti-government feeling yet.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: expression

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