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[ik-spresh-uh n] /ɪkˈsprɛʃ ən/
the act of expressing or setting forth in words:
the free expression of political opinions.
a particular word, phrase, or form of words:
old-fashioned expressions.
the manner or form in which a thing is expressed in words; wording; phrasing:
delicacy of expression.
the power of expressing in words:
joy beyond expression.
indication of feeling, spirit, character, etc., as on the face, in the voice, or in artistic execution:
the lyric expression embodied in his poetry.
a look or intonation expressing personal reaction, feeling, etc.:
a shocked expression.
the quality or power of expressing an attitude, emotion, etc.:
a face that lacks expression; to read with expression.
the act of expressing or representing, as by symbols.
Mathematics. a symbol or a combination of symbols representing a value, relation, or the like.
Linguistics. the stylistic characteristics of an utterance (opposed to meaning).
Linguistics. the system of verbal utterances specific to a language (opposed to content1. ).
the act of expressing or pressing out.
Computers. a combination of variables, constants, and functions linked by operation symbols and any required punctuation that describe a rule for calculating a value.
  1. the action of a gene in the production of a protein or a phenotype.
  2. expressivity (def 2).
Origin of expression
late Middle English
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin expressiōn- (stem of expressiō) a pressing out. See express, -ion
Related forms
expressional, adjective
expressionless, adjective
expressionlessly, adverb
preexpression, noun
reexpression, noun
superexpression, noun
1. utterance, declaration, assertion, statement. 2. term, idiom. See phrase. 3. language, diction, phraseology. 5. manifestation, sign. 6. aspect, air. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for expressionless
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They closed once or twice, opened again, blue-green, expressionless.

    The Firing Line Robert W. Chambers
  • Sir Allan looked searchingly into the other's calm, expressionless face.

    The New Tenant E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • He dropped into the next shell hole and with his expressionless drawl unshaken, said, "Private X. Dress my arm."

    A Yankee in the Trenches R. Derby Holmes
  • He had been watching her features and wondering why he had ever thought them expressionless.

  • expressionless to a degree, they at once convinced the spectator that she was a woman of the best breeding.

    The Country House John Galsworthy
  • Her face was expressionless, but she did not remove her gaze from Patricia.

    A Virginia Scout Hugh Pendexter
British Dictionary definitions for expressionless


the act or an instance of transforming ideas into words
a manifestation of an emotion, feeling, etc, without words: tears are an expression of grief
communication of emotion through music, painting, etc
a look on the face that indicates mood or emotion: a joyful expression
the choice of words, phrases, syntax, intonation, etc, in communicating
a particular phrase used conventionally to express something: a dialect expression
the act or process of forcing or squeezing out a liquid
(maths) a variable, function, or some combination of constants, variables, or functions
(genetics) the effect of a particular gene on the phenotype
Derived Forms
expressional, adjective
expressionless, adjective
expressionlessly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for expressionless

1831, from expression + -less.



early 15c., "action of pressing out;" later (mid-15c.) "action of manifesting a feeling;" (late 15c.) "a putting into words," from Middle French expression (14c.), from Late Latin expressionem (nominative expressio), noun of action from past participle stem of exprimere (see express (v.)). Meaning "an action or creation that expresses feelings" is from 1620s. Of the face, from 1774. Occasionally the word also was used literally, for "the action of squeezing out."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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expressionless in Medicine

expression ex·pres·sion (ĭk-sprěsh'ən)

  1. The act of pressing or squeezing out.

  2. The outward manifestation of a mood or disposition by mobility of the facial features; facies.

  3. The phenotype manifested by a genotype under fixed environmental conditions.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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