by Paul Niquette
Copyright ©1996 Resource Books All rights reserved.

impress v.t. metaphorical senses only, not literal or legal:

  • To have an emotional or cognitive impact upon
  • To produce or try to produce a vivid perception or image of...what! 

Few remnants of youthful idealism have endured beyond middle age.  One is my aversion to that particular word.  As an angry undergraduate, I renounced it on philosophical grounds, along with its variants (impression, impressive).  Image-making is the denotation I deplored, along with its connotations of phoniness and manipulative affectation.

As a resident of Reality City, I'll not be impressed, thank you.  Nor will I set about to impress.  I have embraced a life-long goal to perceive, and I diligently endeavor not to seem.

Decades have gone by, and I don't recall being especially inconvenienced by my self-imposed proscription.

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impress (v.) 

c.1374, "to apply with pressure, make a permanent image in," from L. impressus, pp. of imprimere "press into or upon, stamp," from in- "into" + premere "to press" (see press (v.1)). Fig. sense of "have a strong effect on the mind or heart" is from 1413. Sense of "to levy for military service" is from 1596, a meaning more from press (v.2). Impressionable formed 1836 on Fr. model, Impressive was originally (1593) "capable of being easily impressed;" sense of "making an impression on the mind or senses" is from 1775. 

                                                               -- Online Etymology Dictionary 
                                                                      © November 2001 Douglas Harper