to apply with pressure so as to imprint; to produce (as a mark) by pressure; to mark by or as if by pressure or stamping
to produce a vivid impression of; to affect especially forcibly or deeply; gain the admiration or interest of
Impress. I've used this word a hundred times. I'm sure it's one of the most used words in the dictionary, it and its variations and tenses. Only when I was writing the post for Uncle Tom's Cabin (I'm working on it right now) I really realized how often I use it without realized the intensity of the word.
You can use it as a simple, "There was an impression in the page." That's basic, and I understand that the page of whatever you are telling me about has had something sitting on it for a while and now it is dented in. However, this word can be used very powerfully as a metaphor. In my Uncle Tom's Cabin review, I mention that the book "impressed me." But what do I mean by that? When I say that, you don't picture me flattened on the ground, impressed into the ground, because in reality, unless the book somehow cut my skin, or was large and heavy enough to flatten some part of my body, it didn't impress me. Not literally.
But it did impress me. It impressed my heart and mind. It gave me new perspectives. When you think about the story that is inside those covers and you imagine it wrapping around your heart and squeezing - impressing - then you have seen what I felt while reading that book. That is truly impressive.
You can use this word as a filler; I will probably use it more than I really need to, just because I need a word to fill the sentence. But I will be more on my guard while using it. There will be times, more than others, that I really feel the impression of whatever I'm talking/writing about. It's then that you can see and feel the true beauty of the word.
The word itself is of Latin origin. Miriam Webster online says: "Middle English, from Latin impressus, past participle of imprimere, from in- + premere = to press. First Known Use: 14th century."