I am looking for a verb to describe something giving someone a bad/unpleasant impression, Ex:

Jack was released from prison for almost five years. Someone asked him what was his impression about the prison experience. He replied in dismay, "No decent food, no sunshine, no friend…", "that's what ___(a verb similar with 'impress' but in neutral/negative connotation) me the most about prison experience"

What's the verb for it?

  • 1
    I should impress upon you that impress doesn't always have positive connotations.
    – TimR
    Jul 17, 2017 at 17:45
  • 1
    You could reference Johnny Cash's song "Folsom Prison Blues" for some good examples of this feeling. (It is a "country" song, so some of the phrasing is a little rural.) youtu.be/6ZPToXstS8M
    – user11628
    Jul 17, 2017 at 17:52
  • 2
    Dictionaries will affirm what @Tᴚoɯɐuo says. "To affect (someone) strongly and often favourably"; often implies that the word can be (and is) used for negative impressions.
    – J.R.
    Jul 17, 2017 at 17:53
  • 1
    You could use the phrase "stuck with me". Jul 17, 2017 at 18:37
  • 1
    "That's what dismayed me the most about the prison experience". ...or... "bummed me out" in the vernacular. Also consider demoralized. Jul 17, 2017 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


As the comments indicate, "impress" by definition does not always carry a positive connotation. However, as you correctly surmise, "impress" and "impressed" often do carry positive connotations. To use "impress" to indicate something has made an imprint on something else you generally use a preposition.

"I would like to impress upon you," means something entirely different than. "I would like to impress you." That being said, "impression" always means something has made an imprint on something else without positive or negative connotations.

Your sentence can be written, "Those are my impressions of prison."

  • thanks. is there a verb for this question?
    – user239460
    Jul 26, 2017 at 3:00

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