ex·​po·​nen·​tial | \ˌek-spə-ˈnen(t)-shəl \

Definition of exponential 

1 : of or relating to an exponent

2 : involving a variable in an exponent 10x is an exponential expression

3 : expressible or approximately expressible by an exponential function especially : characterized by or being an extremely rapid increase (as in size or extent) an exponential growth rate

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Other Words from exponential

exponentially \ ˌek-​spə-​ˈnen(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of exponential in a Sentence

The business has experienced several years of exponential growth. Prices have increased at an exponential rate. 10₃ is an exponential expression.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The problem, Shelton indicated at the time, is that there's already enough debris in space to cause an exponential rise in the number of circulating pieces. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "China’s failing satellite is just one example of a massive space debris problem," 29 Mar. 2018 One carat retails for $800 without a setting, and pricing is linear rather than the exponential increases favored by natural-stone jewelers. Annabelle Williams, Philly.com, "What do lab-grown diamonds mean for Jewelers Row?," 7 July 2018 That’s up from under 15% of overdoses involving fentanyl before 2013, an alarmingly exponential rate increase in only a few years. Brittany Shoot, Fortune, "Fentanyl Is Causing Almost Half of All Overdose Deaths, Research Shows," 2 July 2018 If the number of farmers markets is any indication, that growth is exponential: In the last 15 years, the nationwide number of farmers markets has nearly quintupled, according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Emily Hopkins, Indianapolis Star, "'It opened the door for us': How Indiana's farmers markets help small farmers," 29 June 2018 John Middleton sold the cigar company in 2007 for $2.9 billion — at an exponential profit. Bob Fernandez, Philly.com, "Philly law firm Schnader Harrison, lawyer sued in Middleton brother-sister feud over billions," 26 June 2018 The 8086 paved the way for rapid, exponential progress in computer speed, capacity, and price-performance—all driven by fierce competition among hundreds of companies vying to improve the same thing. Benj Edwards, PCWorld, "Birth of a standard: The Intel 8086 microprocessor turns 40 today," 8 June 2018 But then opening a restaurant adds exponential chaos, with developing the menu, working with the architects on the floor plan, buying equipment, and sometimes helping find a chef. Elyse Inamine, Bon Appetit, "Anthony Falco Left Roberta’s. Now He’s an “International Pizza Consultant”," 31 May 2018 Though nearly every item that Markle has worn publicly since the start of her relationship with Prince Harry has sold out, her effect on the Mother jeans was exponential. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle's Sold-Out Jeans Are Finally Back In Stock," 26 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of exponential

1704, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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The first known use of exponential was in 1704

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English Language Learners Definition of exponential

: very fast : increasingly rapid

mathematics : including or using an exponent


ex·​po·​nen·​tial | \ˌek-spə-ˈnen-chəl \

Medical Definition of exponential 

: expressible or approximately expressible by an exponential function an exponential growth rate

Other Words from exponential

exponentially \ -​ˈnench-​(ə-​)lē \ adverb

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