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express definition


This page has 21 definitions of express in English and French. Express is an adjective, noun, an adverb and verb. Examples of how to use express in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

English express definition


Etymology 1

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. See instructions at Dictionary: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 1051532490, 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.
  7. That which is sent by an express messenger or message.
    • 1648, attributed to Charles I of England, Εἰκὼν Βασιλική [Eikōn Basilikē = Royal Portrait]. The Pourtraicture of His Sacred Maiestie, in His Solitvdes and Svfferings:
      popular captations, which some men use in their Speeches, and Expresses
    • 1842, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Lady Anne Granard, volume 3, page 132:
      So much was Sir Edward delighted that he sent an express to inform Lord Meersbrook of this great act of friendship, in order that he might be the more easy on their account;...



  1. Moving or operating quickly, as a train not making local stops.
    The train runs express to 96 St.

Etymology 2

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.
    Words cannot express the love I feel for him.
  2. (transitive) To press, squeeze out (especially said of milk).
    • 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, “chapter 13”, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299:
      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.
Derived terms
Related terms
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Dictionary: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.

French express definition


Borrowed from English express, from French exprès, from Latin expressus.



express (invariable)

  1. express, rapid

Derived terms


express m (plural express)

  1. express train or service

Further reading