from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of, relating to, or characterized by expression.
  • adjective Serving to express or indicate meaning or feeling.
  • adjective Showing or communicating meaning or feeling effectively.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Full of expression; forcibly expressing or clearly representing; significant.
  • Serving to express, utter, or represent: followed by of: as, a look expressive of gratitude.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Serving to express, utter, or represent; indicative; communicative; -- followed by of.
  • adjective Full of expression; vividly representing the meaning or feeling meant to be conveyed; significant; emphatic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Effectively conveying thought or feeling.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective characterized by expression


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Given that the state being articulated is not strictly necessarily emotional, other linguists prefer the term expressive, so that's what I'll run with.

    Notes From The Geek Show

  • In this case our ordinary system of habits -- those which we call expressive of our "real selves" -- inhibit or quench (keep inactive or partially inactive) those habits and instinctive tendencies which belong largely in the past.

    Introduction to the Science of Sociology

  • And that the literal signification has not altogether been lost in the spiritual and metaphorical use of it, as a term expressive of religious experience, is quite plain from many of the cases in which it occurs.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Psalms

  • In its place in the brain it is like a book in a library; and as the book offers on its back a title expressive of its contents, so we label each convolution with its proper title.

    Buchanan's Journal of Man, June 1887 Volume 1, Number 5

  • Will any of your correspondents be good enough to explain the circumstances which gave rise to the adoption of "farina" as a term expressive of baseness and disparagement?

    Notes and Queries, Number 76, April 12, 1851 A Medium of Inter-communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, etc

  • FOUTRE, _s. _ a term expressive of the greatest contempt.

    Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland, Volume XXIV.

  • We are almost afraid to say what Mr. Waffles 'means were, but we really believe, at the time he came of age, that he had 100,000_l. _ in the funds, which were nearly at' par '-- a term expressive of each hundred being worth a hundred, and not eighty-nine or ninety pounds as is now the case, which makes a considerable difference in the melting.

    Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour

  • On the other hand, if the husband would secure a cheerful obedience, and cherish, instead of spoil, an amiable temper, or regulate a peevish one, let his wishes be reasonable in themselves, and uttered without a look or a term expressive of an insolent consciousness of superiority.

    Female Scripture Biographies, Volume I

  • Those learned and able divines began their labours by arranging, in the most systematic order, the various great and sacred truths which God has revealed to man; and then reduced these to thirty-two distinct heads or chapters, each having a title expressive of its subject.

    The Works of Mr. George Gillespie (Vol. 1 of 2)

  • ` awful 'woman, _I_ should say; that's only a term expressive of a different kind of admiration.

    True to his Colours The Life that Wears Best


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