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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).


  • (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.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 5, in 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.
    • 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
    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”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      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.
  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, Isaac Watts, The Improvement of the Mind
      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, William Shakespeare, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [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 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 []
  5. Characteristic; mark of distinction; stamp.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of South to this entry?)
  6. A heraldic device; an impresa.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Cussans to this entry?)
  7. The act of impressing, or taking by force for the public service; compulsion to serve; also, that which is impressed.


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