- full of expression; meaningful: an expressive shrug.
- serving to express; indicative of power to express: a look expressive of gratitude.
- of, relating to, or concerned with expression: Dance is a highly expressive art.
- Sociology. (of a crowd or group) engaging in nonpurposeful activity of an expressive and often rhythmic nature, as weeping, dancing, or shouting.Compare active(def 15), orgiastic(def 2).
- Linguistics. of or relating 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.
- of, involving, or full of expression
- (postpositive foll by of) indicative or suggestive (of)a look expressive of love
- having a particular meaning, feeling, or force; significant
adj.c.1400, “tending to press out,” from French expressif, from expres “clear, plain,” from stem of Latin exprimere (see express (v.)). Meaning “full of expression” is from 1680s. Related: Expressively; expressiveness.