ex·​po·​nent | \ ik-ˈspō-nənt How to pronounce exponent (audio) , ˈek-ˌspō- How to pronounce exponent (audio) \

Definition of exponent

1 : a symbol written above and to the right of a mathematical expression to indicate the operation of raising to a power
2a : one that expounds or interprets
b : one that champions, practices, or exemplifies

Did you know?

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that exponent and proponent have a lot in common. While the two share visual similarities and closely related definitions, they also have a common ancestor: the Latin ponere, meaning “to put.” Exponent comes from exponere, meaning “to explain, expound, or set forth,” while proponent comes from proponere, meaning “to expose to view, bring to one’s attention, propose.” Today, proponent usually refers to someone who argues in favor of something. Exponent can also refer to someone who is an advocate, but it tends to refer especially to someone who stands out as a shining representative of something. In addition, it has kept its earlier meaning of “one who expounds,” as well as its mathematical symbol meaning.

Examples of exponent in a Sentence

She has become one of America's foremost exponents of the romantic style in interior design. The exponent 3 in 103 indicates 10 x 10 x 10.
Recent Examples on the Web And the exponent for market distribution becomes the value provided to customers. Alex Kreger, Forbes, 7 June 2022 Born in Jammu, Northern India, Sharma became a exponent of the classical instrument santoor. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 10 May 2022 Liberal academics have often described Mastriano as a leading exponent of Christian nationalism, because of his tendency to frame political events as theological challenges. The New Yorker, 15 May 2022 Otake spent time with Manja Chmiel, an exponent of the German modern dance movement Neue Tanz, and the Butoh legend Kazuo Ohno; Tan was the protégée of pioneering conceptual musician John Cage. Amanda Lee Koe, Vogue, 25 May 2022 The British drill exponent (real name Rhys Angelo Emile Herbert) debuts at the summit of the Official U.K. Albums Chart with Noughty, this third mixtape. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 25 Apr. 2022 But Scalia was its most prominent, insistent, and eloquent exponent from the mid 1980s until his death in 2016. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, 23 Mar. 2022 Blaise Aguirre, at McLean Hospital, is a leading exponent of D.B.T., having overseen the treatment of thirty-five hundred adolescents and young adults, many of whom have had as many as ten previous psychiatric hospitalizations. Andrew Solomon, The New Yorker, 4 Apr. 2022 When India became independent in 1947, Kathak achieved fresh glory, with Birju as a leading exponent. New York Times, 2 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exponent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of exponent

1734, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for exponent

Latin exponent-, exponens, present participle of exponere — more at expose

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Time Traveler for exponent

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The first known use of exponent was in 1734

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Exponent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exponent. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for exponent


ex·​po·​nent | \ ik-ˈspō-nənt How to pronounce exponent (audio) \

Kids Definition of exponent

: a numeral written above and to the right of a number to show how many times the number is to be used as a factor The exponent 3 in 103 indicates 10 × 10 × 10.

More from Merriam-Webster on exponent

Nglish: Translation of exponent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exponent for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about exponent


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