/ik spres"iv/, adj.
1. full of expression; meaningful: an expressive shrug.
2. serving to express; indicative of power to express: a look expressive of gratitude.
3. of, pertaining to, or concerned with expression: Dance is a highly expressive art.
4. Sociol. (of a crowd or group) engaging in nonpurposeful activity of an expressive and often rhythmic nature, as weeping, dancing, or shouting. Cf. active (def. 15), orgiastic (def. 2).
5. Ling. of or pertaining to forms in which sounds denote a semantic field directly and nonarbitrarily, through sound symbolism based, to some degree, on synesthesia, as observable in onomatopoeia, rhyming and gradational compounds, and emotionally charged words such as hypocoristics and pejoratives.
[1350-1400; ME < MF; see EXPRESS, -IVE]
Syn. 1, 2. EXPRESSIVE, MEANINGFUL, SIGNIFICANT, SUGGESTIVE imply the conveying of a thought, indicating an attitude of mind, or the like, by words or otherwise. EXPRESSIVE suggests conveying, or being capable of conveying, a thought, intention, emotion, etc., in an effective or vivid manner: an expressive gesture.
MEANINGFUL and SIGNIFICANT imply an underlying and unexpressed thought whose existence is plainly shown although its precise nature is left to conjecture. MEANINGFUL implies a secret and intimate understanding between the persons involved: Meaningful looks passed between them. SIGNIFICANT suggests conveying important or hidden meaning: On hearing this statement, he gave the officers a significant glance. SUGGESTIVE implies an indirect or covert conveying of a meaning, sometimes mentally stimulating, sometimes verging on impropriety or indecency: a suggestive story or remark. See also eloquent.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Expressive — Ex*press ive, a. [Cf. F. expressif.] 1. Serving to express, utter, or represent; indicative; communicative; followed by of; as, words expressive of his gratitude. [1913 Webster] Each verse so swells expressive of her woes. Tickell. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • expressive — expressive, eloquent, significant, meaningful, pregnant, sententious mean clearly conveying or manifesting a thought, idea, or feeling or a combination of these. Something is expressive which vividly or strikingly represents the thoughts,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • expressive — ex·pres·sive adj 1: of or relating to expression 2: serving to express or represent expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment ex·pres·sive·ly adv ex·pres·sive·ness n Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law …   Law dictionary

  • expressive — [ek spres′iv, ikspres′iv] adj. [ME < ML expressivus] 1. of or characterized by expression 2. that expresses or shows; indicative (of) [a song expressive of joy] 3. full of meaning or feeling [an expressive nod] expressively adv. expressiveness …   English World dictionary

  • expressive — ► ADJECTIVE 1) effectively conveying thought or feeling. 2) (expressive of) conveying (a quality or idea). DERIVATIVES expressively adverb expressiveness noun expressivity noun …   English terms dictionary

  • expressive — c.1400, tending to press out, Fr. expressif, from expres clear, plain, from stem of L. exprimere (see EXPRESS (Cf. express) (v.)). Meaning full of expression is from 1680s. Related: Expressively; expressiveness …   Etymology dictionary

  • expressive — [adj] telling, revealing alive, allusive, articulate, artistic, brilliant, colorful, demonstrative, dramatic, eloquent, emphatic, energetic, forcible, graphic, indicative, ingenious, lively, masterly, meaningful, mobile, moving, passionate,… …   New thesaurus

  • expressive — [[t]ɪkspre̱sɪv[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED If you describe a person or their behaviour as expressive, you mean that their behaviour clearly indicates their feelings or intentions. You can train people to be more expressive... She had almost the same look… …   English dictionary

  • expressive — ex|pres|sive [ ık spresıv ] adjective 1. ) clearly showing what your thoughts or feelings are, especially by your behavior: a wonderfully expressive face He gave an expressive shudder when asked to hold the snake. an expressive description of… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • expressive — UK [ɪkˈspresɪv] / US adjective 1) clearly showing what your thoughts or feelings are, especially by your behaviour a wonderfully expressive face He gave an expressive shudder when asked to hold the snake. an expressive description of childhood… …   English dictionary

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