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From Middle English impressen, from Latin impressus, perfect passive participle of imprimere (to press into or upon, stick, stamp, or dig into), from in (in, upon) + premere (to press).


impress (third-person singular simple present impresses, present participle impressing, simple past and past participle impressed)

  1. (transitive) To affect (someone) strongly and often favourably.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 5, The China Governess[1]:
      Mr. Campion appeared suitably impressed and she warmed to him. He was very easy to talk to with those long clown lines in his pale face, a natural goon, born rather too early she suspected.
    You impressed me with your command of Urdu.
  2. (intransitive) To make an impression, to be impressive.
    • 2012 September 7, Phil McNulty, “Moldova 0-5 England”, BBC Sport:
      Manchester United's Tom Cleverley impressed on his first competitive start and Lampard demonstrated his continued worth at international level in a performance that was little more than a stroll once England swiftly exerted their obvious authority.
    Henderson impressed in his first game as captain.
  3. (transitive) To produce a vivid impression of (something).
    That first view of the Eiger impressed itself on my mind.
  4. (transitive) To mark or stamp (something) using pressure.
    We impressed our footprints in the wet cement.
    • Shakespeare
      his heart, like an agate, with your print impressed
  5. To produce (a mark, stamp, image, etc.); to imprint (a mark or figure upon something).
  6. (figuratively) To fix deeply in the mind; to present forcibly to the attention, etc.; to imprint; to inculcate.
    • I. Watts
      Impress the motives of persuasion upon our own hearts till we feel the force of them.
  7. (transitive) To compel (someone) to serve in a military force.
    The press gang used to impress people into the Navy.
  8. (transitive) To seize or confiscate (property) by force.
    The liner was impressed as a troop carrier.
    • Evelyn
      the second five thousand pounds impressed for the service of the sick and wounded prisoners





impress (plural impresses)

  1. The act of impressing
  2. An impression, and impressed image or copy of something
    • 1908, Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans’, Norton 2005, p. 1330:
      We know that you were pressed for money, that you took an impress of the keys which your brother held [...].
  3. A stamp or seal used to make an impression
  4. An impression on the mind, imagination etc.
    • 2007, John Burrow, A History of Histories, Penguin 2009, p. 187:
      Such admonitions, in the English of the Authorized Version, left an indelible impress on imaginations nurtured on the Bible [...].



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