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Basically a friend of mine is working with me right now and we're translating a few things.

In a tear-jerking scene where two sisters are reunited, my friend insisted on translating it to "an impressive reunion" whereas I was thinking of "heartwarming". My impression of impressive are mostly among the lines of "leaving a deep impression" or "awe-inspiring". Can it be used to describe tear-inducing matters? I've never touched upon that kind of usage before...

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Your impression of "impressive" is right. Impressive could be considered as long as it makes a good impression, but I would recommend using the following 2 adjectives.

Very broadly used adjective is "touching" which means:

Arousing feelings of sympathy or gratitude: your loyalty is very touching a touching reconciliation scene

Another possible candidate is moving:

Producing strong emotion, especially sadness or sympathy: an unforgettable and moving book

[Oxford Online Dictionary]

The following shows usage of 3 adjectives. "an impressive scene" has been losing popularity since the beginning of the 20th century.

enter image description here

[Ngram Viewer]

  • I was aware of touching and moving but since it was a happy reunion I wanted to emphasize that a bit. But thanks for the recommendations anyway. – anonymous Nov 11 '15 at 10:11
  • @anonymous You specifically mentioned "tear-jerking" and that's why I suggested those words. Why not use "tear-jerking reunion scene"? – user140086 Nov 11 '15 at 10:14
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Your friend should look it up. Using "impressive" here doesn't make a whole lot of sense:

impressive: Making a strong positive impression; inspiring admiration or awe

(AHD)

Depending on the broader context, a word like "emotional" could work to describe the reunion:

emotional: making people have strong feelings

The funeral was a very emotional experience for all of us.

(Longman)

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