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Etymology 1Edit

From French exprès, from Latin expressus, past participle of exprimere (see Etymology 2, below).


express (comparative more express, superlative most express)

  1. (not comparable) Moving or operating quickly, as a train not making local stops.
    Synonyms: fast, crack
  2. (comparable) Specific or precise; directly and distinctly stated; not merely implied.
    Synonyms: explicit, plain; see also Thesaurus:explicit
    Antonym: implied
    I gave him express instructions not to begin until I arrived, but he ignored me.
    This book cannot be copied without the express permission of the publisher.
  3. Truly depicted; exactly resembling.
    In my eyes it bore a livelier image of the spirit, it seemed more express and single, than the imperfect and divided countenance.
    • 1634, John Milton, Homer Sprague, editor, The Mask of Comus, New York: J. W. Schermerhorn & Co., published 1876, page 253:
      Soon as the potion works, their human countenance, / The express resemblance of the gods, is changed / Into some brutish form, of wolf, or bear, / Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat, / All other parts remaining as they were []
  4. (postpositive, retail) Providing a more limited but presumably faster service than a full or complete dealer of the same kind or type.
    Pizza Hut Express
    McDonald's Express
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


express (plural expresses)

  1. A mode of transportation, often a train, that travels quickly or directly.
    Antonyms: local, stopper
    I took the express into town.
    • 1931, Francis Beeding, “1/1”, in Death Walks in Eastrepps[1]:
      The train was moving less fast through the summer night. The swift express had changed into something almost a parliamentary, had stopped three times since Norwich, and now, at long last, was approaching Banton.
    • 1961 October, “The winter timetables of British Railways: Western Region”, in Trains Illustrated, page 590:
      Except for the mid-winter period, when the 11.30 a.m. from Paddington and its opposite number will be withdrawn - Torquay now has seven daily expresses to and from Paddington as compared with five down and six up previously.
  2. A service that allows mail or money to be sent rapidly from one destination to another.
  3. An express rifle.
  4. (obsolete) A clear image or representation; an expression; a plain declaration.
    • 1651, Jer[emy] Taylor, “Section V”, in Clerus Domini: or, A Discourse of the Divine Institution, Necessity, Sacrednesse, and Separation of the Office Ministerial. [], London: [] R[ichard] Royston [], published 1655, OCLC 1179639832, paragraph 5, page 30:
      And this [holy communion] being the great myſtery of Chriſtianity, and the onely remanent expreſſe of Chriſts ſacrifice on earth, it is moſt conſonant to the Analogy of the myſtery, that this commemorative ſacrifice be preſented by perſons as ſeparate, and diſtinct in our miniſtery, []
  5. A messenger sent on a special errand; a courier.
    • 1792, Charlotte Smith, Desmond, Broadview 2001, p. 381:
      I learned, to my inexpressible terror, that at two o'clock, the day before, an express had been sent to Geraldine by Mr Bergasse, with a letter, which he had received from the Hotel de Romagnecourt.
  6. An express office.
    • 1873, Edward Everett Hale, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
      She charged him [] to ask at the express if anything came up from town.
  7. That which is sent by an express messenger or message.

Etymology 2Edit

From Old French espresser, expresser, from frequentative form of Latin exprimere.


express (third-person singular simple present expresses, present participle expressing, simple past and past participle expressed)

  1. (transitive) To convey or communicate; to make known or explicit.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter V, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698:
      We expressed our readiness, and in ten minutes were in the station wagon, rolling rapidly down the long drive, for it was then after nine. We passed on the way the van of the guests from Asquith. As we reached the lodge we heard the whistle, and we backed up against one side of the platform as the train pulled up at the other.
    Words cannot express the love I feel for him.
  2. (transitive) To press, squeeze out (especially said of milk).
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, chapter 13
      The people of his island of Rokovoko, it seems, at their wedding feasts express the fragrant water of young cocoanuts into a large stained calabash like a punchbowl []
    • 1949, United States Naval Medical Bulletin (volume 49, issue 1, page 61)
      It contained many cysts which were filled with sagolike granules that could be expressed under pressure.
    • 2018, Kelsey Munroe, The Guardian, 15 March:
      They don’t have teats, so the mothers express their milk onto their bellies for their young to feed.
  3. (biochemistry) To translate messenger RNA into protein.
  4. (biochemistry) To transcribe deoxyribonucleic acid into messenger RNA.
    • 2015, Ferris Jabr, How Humans Ended Up With Freakishly Huge Brains, Wired:
      When a cell “expresses” a gene, it translates the DNA first into a signature messenger RNA (mRNA) sequence and subsequently into a chain of amino acids that forms a protein.
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


express (plural expresses)

  1. (obsolete) The action of conveying some idea using words or actions; communication, expression.
    • 1646, Sir Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, V.20:
      Whereby they discoursed in silence, and were intuitively understood from the theory of their expresses.
  2. (obsolete) A specific statement or instruction.
    • 1646, Sir Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, II.5:
      This Gentleman [...] caused a man to go down no less than a hundred fathom, with express to take notice whether it were hard or soft in the place where it groweth.



Borrowed from English express, from Old French expres, from Latin expressus.



express (invariable)

  1. express, rapide

Derived termsEdit


express m (plural express)

  1. express train or service

Further readingEdit