from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A theory or style of painting originating and developed in France during the 1870s, characterized by concentration on the immediate visual impression produced by a scene and by the use of unmixed primary colors and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light.
  • n. A literary style characterized by the use of details and mental associations to evoke subjective and sensory impressions rather than the re-creation of objective reality.
  • n. Music A style of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, using somewhat vague harmony and rhythm to evoke a mood, place, and natural phenomena.
  • n. The practice of expressing or developing one's subjective response to a work of art or to actual experience.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a movement in art characterized by visible brush strokes, ordinary subject matters, and an emphasis on light and its changing qualities
  • n. a style that avoided traditional harmony, and sought to invoke the impressions of the composer
  • n. a style that used imagery and symbolism to portray the poet's impressions

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The theory or method of suggesting an effect or impression without elaboration of the details; -- a disignation of a recent fashion in painting and etching.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In art and lit., the doctrines and methods of the impressionists; the doctrine that natural objects should be painted or described as they first strike the eye in their immediate and momentary effects—that is, without selection, or artificial combination or elaboration.
  • n. The name was first given to an advanced school of modern painting in France, based on the principle that effects of light in nature are momentary, and that the painter, if he wishes to be true to nature, should confine his attention and effort as closely as possible to the moment of their occurrence. In order to express the high key of natural light, a coterie of extreme impressionists, called pointillists, have used pure color laid on in points or dots. See the extract.

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

  • n. a school of late 19th century French painters who pictured appearances by strokes of unmixed colors to give the impression of reflected light


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French impressionisme


  • There was also a large light green summer landscape – an experiment in impressionism – but thin and plain as far as colouring went.

    Jenny: A Novel

  • - impressionism; impressionism is to painting what friggin 'Yanni is to classical music.

    unbillable hours:

  • This is what has come to be known as impressionism, i.e., a painterly illusion - ism that turns up in very different forms and in very different degrees.


  • What Martin may have gotten, during his stay in Europe, which is called impressionism is, it must be said, a more aristocratic type of impressionism than issued from the Monet followers.

    Adventures in the Arts Informal Chapters on Painters, Vaudeville, and Poets

  • Only the extreme of what is called impressionism tries to give upon canvas one absolute momentary view; the result is that when the beholder has himself actually been struck by that aspect, the picture has an extraordinary force and emotional value -- like the vivid power of recalling the past possessed by smells.

    The Sense of Beauty Being the Outlines of Aesthetic Theory

  • Yes, we must do better than that kind of impressionism, however, upon which: Poor black kids are routinely subject to less qualified teachers, who stick around for less time, than poor white kids. Blog Articles » Print » TNR: Sailer Probably Right, But Still Evil

  • Any particular style, such as impressionism, is a temporary stage, a partial equilibrium in a long his - torical process.


  • That is really what is meant by "impressionism" in poetry carried to its highest excellence.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 102, June 4, 1892

  • Italian _Rivista Neo-Scolastica_, has a very great contribution to make to the Philosophy of the future, and is much more deserving of the serious attention of students in our own country than the much-advertised 'impressionism' of Pragmatists and Bergsonians.

    Recent Developments in European Thought

  • Now he had become the missionary in England of the new French gospel of "impressionism," which to Ruskin was one of those half-truths which are ever the worst of heresies.

    The Life of John Ruskin


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