From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



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).


  • (verb)
    enPR: ĭmprĕsʹ, IPA(key): /ɪmˈpɹɛs/
    Rhymes: -ɛs
  • (noun)
    enPR: ĭmʹprĕs, IPA(key): /ˈɪmpɹɛs/
  • Hyphenation: im‧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.
    You impressed me with your command of Urdu.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 5, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
      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.
    • 1998, “That Don't Impress Me Much”, in Come On Over, performed by Shania Twain:
      Okay, so you're a rocket scientist / That don't impress me much
  2. (intransitive) To make an impression, to be impressive.
    Henderson impressed in his first game as captain.
    • 2012 September 7, Phil McNulty, “Moldova 0-5 England”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      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.
  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.
  5. To produce (a mark, stamp, image, etc.); to imprint (a mark or figure upon something).
  6. (figurative) To fix deeply in the mind; to present forcibly to the attention, etc.; to imprint; to inculcate.
    • 1741, I[saac] Watts, The Improvement of the Mind: Or, A Supplement to the Art of Logick: [], London: [] James Brackstone, [], →OCLC:
      impress the motives and methods of persuasion upon our own hearts, till we feel the force and power 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.




impress (plural impresses)

  1. The act of impressing.
  2. An impression; an impressed image or copy of something.
    • c. 1590–1591 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
      This weak impress of love is as a figure / Trenched in ice.
    • 1908, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans, Norton, published 2005, page 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, published 2009, page 187:
      Such admonitions, in the English of the Authorized Version, left an indelible impress on imaginations nurtured on the Bible []
  5. Characteristic; mark of distinction; stamp.
    • 1692–1717, Robert South, Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, 6th edition, volumes (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: [] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1727, →OCLC:
      we have God surveying the works of the creation, and leaving this general impress or character upon them
    • 1941 June, Cecil J. Allen, “British Locomotive Practive and Performance”, in Railway Magazine, page 260:
      As he himself [Sir Nigel Gresley] would doubtless have wished, he died in harness; only a few weeks previously he had been present at the first public view of his latest design, the Bantam Cock, which, like most of his products, bore all over it the impress of his personality.
  6. A heraldic device; an impresa.
    • 1869, John Edwin Cussans, Handbook of Heraldry:
      It commonly occurred that Knights who , on entering the Lists , wished to conceal their identity , would assume a Device with an allusive Motto , which was designated an IMPRESS
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book VIII”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC:
      To describe [] emblazon'd Shields, / Impreses quaint.
  7. The act of impressing, or taking by force for the public service; compulsion to serve; also, that which is impressed.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]