1. often Impressionism A theory or style of painting originating and developed in France during the 1870s, characterized by concentration on the immediate visual impression produced by a scene and by the use of unmixed primary colors and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light.
2. A literary style characterized by the use of details and mental associations to evoke subjective and sensory impressions rather than the re-creation of objective reality.
3. Music A style of art music of the late 1800s and early 1900s, often evoking a dreamy mood and characterized by modal or whole-tone scales, rich and often dissonant harmonies in unconventional progressions, and the avoidance of traditional forms.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.