expressive


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, feelings, or ideas which it intends to convey or which inform or animate it; the term is applicable not only to language but to works of art, to performances (as of music or drama), and to looks, features, or inarticulate sounds
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a forcible and expressive word

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an expressive face

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he laid great stress on the painting of the eyes, as the most expressive and dominating feature— Binyon

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a growing emphasis on the element [in beauty] that is described by such epithets as vital, characteristic, picturesque, individual—in short, on the element that may be summed up by the epithet expressiveBabbitt

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Something is eloquent (see also VOCAL 2) which reveals with great or impressive force one's thoughts, ideas, or feelings
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there was a burst of applause, and a deep silence which was even more eloquent than the applause— Hardy

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I could scarcely remove my eyes from her eloquent countenance: I seemed to read in it relief and gladness mingled with surprise and something like vexation— Hudson

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or which gives a definite and clear suggestion of a condition, situation, or character
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a tremulous little man, in greenish- black broadcloth, eloquent of continued depression in some village retail trade— Quiller-Couch

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a sidewalk eloquent of official neglect— Brownell

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Eloquent is also applicable to words, style, and speech when a power to arouse deep feeling or to evoke images or ideas charged with emotion is implied
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words eloquent of feeling

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a simple but deeply eloquent style

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Something is significant which is not empty of ideas, thoughts, or purpose but conveys a meaning to the auditor, observer, or reader. The term sometimes is applied to words that express a clearly ascertainable idea as distinguished from those words (as prepositions and conjunctions) that merely express a relation or a connection
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his honored client had a meaning and so deep it was, so subtle, that no wonder he experienced a difficulty in giving it fitly significant words Meredith

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those who lay down that every sentence must end on a significant word, never on a preposition— Ellis

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or to works of art or literature that similarly express a clearly ascertainable idea (as a moral, a lesson, or a thesis) as distinguished from works that exist purely for their beauty or perfection of form and have no obvious purpose or import
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art-for-art's-sake men deny that any work of art is necessarily significant

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More often, significant applies to something (as a look, gesture, or act) that suggests a covert or hidden meaning or intention
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by many significant looks and silent entreaties, did she endeavor to prevent such a proof of complaisance— Austen

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she could not feel that there was anything significant in his attentions— Deland

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Something is meaningful which is significant in the sense just defined; the term is often preferred when nothing more than the presence of meaning or intention is implied and any hint of the importance or momentousness sometimes associated with significant would be confusing
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of two close synonyms one word may be more meaningful because of its greater richness in connotations than the other

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it was a . . . meaningful smile— Macdonald

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I suppose the most meaningful thing that can be said of her is that she has restored de-light (repeat, delight) to poetry— Charles Jackson

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Something is pregnant which conveys its meaning with richness or with weightiness and often with extreme conciseness or power
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it is pretty and graceful, but how different from the grave and pregnant strokes of Maurice's pencil— Arnold

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the pregnant maxim of Bacon that the right question is the half of knowledge— Ellis

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he had no talent for revealing a character or resuming the significance of an episode in a single pregnant phrase— Maugham

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Something is sententious which is full of significance; when applied, as is usual, to expressions, the word basi-cally connotes the force and the pithiness of an aphorism
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sententious and oracular brevity— Gibbon

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sententious maxims

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But even as an aphorism may become hackneyed, so has sententious come to often connote platitudinousness or triteness
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"Contentment breeds happiness" ... a proposition . . . sententious, sedate, obviously true— Quiller-Couch

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Analogous words: revealing or revelatory, disclosing, divulging (see corresponding verbs at REVEAL): *graphic, vivid, picturesque, pictorial: suggesting or suggestive, adumbrating, shadowing (see corresponding verbs at SUGGEST)
Contrasted words: *stiff, wooden, rigid, tense, stark: stern, austere, *severe: inane, jejune, flat, banal, vapid, *insipid: vacuous, *empty

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 — 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 — expressively, adv. expressiveness, n. /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… …   Universalium

  • 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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