1 on sb's face
blank, dazed, glazed, vacant

They all just looked at me with blank expressions.


He cracks jokes with a deadpan expression on his face.

curious, enigmatic, inscrutable, odd, strange, unreadable
dreamy, wistful
doubtful, wary
anxious, concerned, troubled, worried
bleak, grim, serious
angry, fierce, furious, stern
hangdog, hurt, melancholy, mournful, pained, sad

He hung around with this pathetic hangdog expression on his face.

intense, rapt
horrified, shocked, stunned, surprised
baffled, bemused, bewildered, confused, puzzled, quizzical
amused, wry
benign, sympathetic
satisfied, smug

The actors's gestures and facial expressions are perfect.

have, hold, wear

She had a very bewildered expression on her face.

The children's faces all wore the same rapt expression.

assume, put on

She carefully put on her most innocent expression.

take on

Rose's face took on the fierce expression of a schoolgirl talking about her most hated teacher.


His face showed no expression.

catch, notice, see

Catching a fleeting expression on Lucy's face, she persisted with her question.

examine, observe, watch
gauge, read

I looked at her, trying to read the expression on her face.


His face never changed expression.

alter, change

His expression changed to embarrassment.

grow … , turn … 

His expression grew thoughtful.

Her expression suddenly turned serious.

remain sth
relax, soften

His expression softened when he saw her.

darken, harden

Her expression hardened into one of strong dislike.

betray sth, reveal sth, show sth, suggest sth, tell sb sth

Her expression betrayed nothing of her thoughts.

His grim expression told her it would be useless.

cross sth, flit across sth

She had been watching the expression that crossed his face.

appear on sth

A surprised expression appeared on her face.

without expression

‘Go on,’ she said, without expression.

expression of

He wore an expression of anxiety on his face.

the expression in sb's eyes, the expression on sb's face

He looked at her with a very strange expression in his eyes.

2 showing feelings/ideas

Her statement was a clear expression of her views on this subject.

concrete, material, practical, tangible

The report gave concrete expression to the fears of many immigrants.


Just because there is no direct expression of prejudice, that does not mean the prejudice does not exist.


The new concept of form reached its fullest expression in the work of Picasso.

highest, perfect, ultimate

His highest expression of praise was ‘Not bad!’

the highest expression of human creativity

effective, powerful

He wanted to write a verse drama in which the verse would seem a natural expression of modern life.


the right of free expression

open, overt, public

the open expression of emotion


the outward expression of inner emotional feelings

characteristic, classic

Modernism was the characteristic expression of the experience of modernity.


The harvest festival was the occasion for the collective expression of a community's religious values.

individual, personal

to allow scope for individual expression

visible, visual
emotional, physical, sexual
oral (esp. AmE), verbal, written

the verbal expression of one's feelings

A constitution is the written expression of the people's will.

artistic, creative, cultural, linguistic, literary, musical, poetic, political, religious
achieve, find, reach, receive

an anger and frustration that finds expression in (= is shown in) violence

give sth

Only in his dreams does he give expression to his fears.

beyond expression

She suddenly felt happy beyond expression (= so happy that she could not express it).

freedom of expression

Freedom of expression (= freedom to say what you think) is a basic human right.

a means of expression

Words, as a means of expression, can be limiting.

3 words
colloquial, slang, vernacular
strange, unusual
figurative, idiomatic, metaphorical
American, English, etc.

Until the mid-nineteenth century, ‘Italy’ was just a geographical expression.


He tends to use strange expressions like ‘It's enough to make a cat laugh’.


I've not heard that expression before.

mean sth

Collocations dictionary. 2013.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • expression — [ ɛkspresjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1547; méd. 1314 ; lat. expressio, de exprimere → exprimer I ♦ Action ou manière d exprimer, de s exprimer. L expression d un sentiment, d une sensation, d un événement vécu. ⇒ extériorisation. Le langage a deux fonctions… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Expression — Ex*pres sion ([e^]ks*pr[e^]sh [u^]n), n. [L. expressio: cf. F. expression.] 1. The act of expressing; the act of forcing out by pressure; as, the expression of juices or oils; also, of extorting or eliciting; as, a forcible expression of truth.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • expression — Expression. s. f. Action par laquelle on exprime le suc, le jus de quelque chose. Le suc des herbes se tire en trois manieres, par expression, par infusion, par decoction. une expression de citron. Expression, signifie aussi, Les termes & la… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Expression — may refer to:* Idiom * Facial expression * Artificial discharge of breast milk; see breastfeeding * Expression (mathematics) * Expression (programming), an instruction to execute something that will return a value. * Microsoft Expression Studio,… …   Wikipedia

  • expression — ex·pres·sion n 1: an act, process, or instance of representing or conveying in words or some other medium: speech protected expression under the First Amendment 2: a mode or means of expressing an idea, opinion, or thought ◇ An expression is… …   Law dictionary

  • expression — [ek spresh′ən, ikspresh′ən] n. [ME expressioun < L expressio < expressus: see EXPRESS] 1. a pressing out or squeezing out, as of juice 2. a putting into words or representing in language 3. a picturing, representing, or symbolizing in art,… …   English World dictionary

  • Expression — [ɛksprɛˈsjoːn] (lat. expressio „Ausdruck“) bedeutet: Realisieren der Information, die in der DNA eines Gens gespeichert ist, siehe Genexpression Zellfreie Genexpression Verfahren zur Gewinnung von ätherischen Ölen ein Intonationsmittel bei… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • expression — early 15c., action of pressing out; later (mid 15c.) action of manifesting a feeling; (late 15c.) a putting into words, from M.Fr. expression (14c.), from L.L. expressionem (nom. expressio), noun of action from pp. stem of exprimere (see EXPRESS… …   Etymology dictionary

  • expression — [n1] verbalization announcement, argument, articulation, assertion, asseveration, choice of words, commentary, communication, declaration, definition, delivery, diction, elucidation, emphasis, enunciation, execution, explanation, exposition,… …   New thesaurus

  • Expression — (lat.), Ausdruck; beim Harmonium ein Zug, der den Wind ganz frei zu den Zungen zuströmen läßt und daher die Stärke der Tongebung von der Behandlung der Bälge (durch die Füße) abhängig macht …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • expression — *phrase, locution, idiom …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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