English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Does appending an express mean something is free as the Visual C# express may suggest?

I cannot find that in a dictionary.

share|improve this question
@mplungjan pretty convincing. why not post an answer? – onemach Jan 21 '12 at 7:55
Really, this is just trademark justification. Unless an "express" compiler either runs faster itself or generates code that runs faster, there's no meaning at all in the use of express in a trademark. Why not ask about the meaning of "Coca" in Coca-Cola? – John Lawler Jan 21 '12 at 15:23
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Express is used by Microsoft to denote free entry-level versions of their software development tools. As such it's a branding / marketing term, and even if the person who came up with it were to give their thought process it would be inadvisable to believe them. Hence we can only speculate.

My speculation, for what it's worth, is that the tools are express in the sense of fast because you can download them and start developing, skipping the time-consuming licensing step.

share|improve this answer
The espress is used in this case as the speed to get started. – Schroedingers Cat Jan 21 '12 at 9:53
+1 exactly mate, nice answer. There are a lot of libraries that are free for 30 day or 60 day trial. The word express underline exactly that, your copy of CSharp is with limited functionality and if you want to do commercial projects you have to get a licence. – speedyGonzales Jan 21 '12 at 12:13

You mean as a synonym for "lite." That is not the case.

Express used to mean fast and was used for trains and other means of "fast" delivery service that perhaps stopped less often.

For newspapers I am not sure if Daily Express means "thoughts of today" or "smaller, leaner newspaper which is faster to read."

The Peking Express is not free, neither is the Daily Express.

For a complex example - the game Galaxy Express is not free, but Galaxy Express Lite is.

In your case, Peter Taylor explained the etymology for MS software.

share|improve this answer

Express in "Visual C# express" implies or suggests an underlying idea or intention: We give this software free so that you can use to express yourself - show / discover your abilities, skills e.t.c.

share|improve this answer
I think that's expression – onemach Jan 23 '12 at 6:47
No, I'm pretty sure Microsoft were thinking of express the adjective, not "to express" the verb. – Concrete Gannet Feb 2 '12 at 8:47

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.