ex·​po·​nen·​tial | \ ˌek-spə-ˈnen(t)-shəl How to pronounce exponential (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from exponential

exponentially \ ˌek-​spə-​ˈnen(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē How to pronounce exponentially (audio) \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

That's exponential growth when compared to the $16.7 million that was generated in 2017. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "3 things to know about Mitch McConnell and Kentucky's hemp industry," 29 Nov. 2017 But a fire and explosion at a massive battery west of Phoenix that injured eight firefighters and a police officer in April highlighted the challenges and risks that can arise as utilities prepare for the exponential growth of the technology. Washington Post, "Arizona fire highlights challenges for energy storage," 23 June 2019 Houlahan said, noting the exponential growth of the city’s deficit. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Santee future finances concern City Council during budget talk," 18 June 2019 The second half of the internet will not come online as quickly as the first half was doing in the early 2010s; exponential growth cannot continue in a finite world. The Economist, "How the world’s poor are discovering leisure online," 8 June 2019 Such an exponential rise in price is a telltale sign of an eager, maybe inexperienced market—certainly one with plenty of capital to spare. Kevin Conley, Town & Country, "Pablo Picasso Sets a Record for Most Expensive Art Work in the World at Christie's," 12 May 2015 Turtles quickly become the dominant species and start eating everything causing them to grow in an exponential rate. Fox News, "Gutfeld: Be nicer. It will drive your enemies nuts," 5 Aug. 2018 Other studies suggest the relationship is exponential, which would mean an even greater reduction in protection. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "The Burning Question: How Much Sunscreen?," 29 June 2018 The cost is exponential, according to commissioners. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty County attorney to challenge DPS memorandum regarding weight enforcement officers," 29 Apr. 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.

See More

First Known Use of exponential

1704, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about exponential

Statistics for exponential

Last Updated

22 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exponential

The first known use of exponential was in 1704

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for exponential



English Language Learners Definition of exponential

: very fast : increasingly rapid
mathematics : including or using an exponent


ex·​po·​nen·​tial | \ ˌek-spə-ˈnen-chəl How to pronounce exponential (audio) \

Medical Definition of exponential

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

Other Words from exponential

exponentially \ -​ˈnench-​(ə-​)lē How to pronounce exponentially (audio) \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on exponential

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with exponential

Spanish Central: Translation of exponential

Nglish: Translation of exponential for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exponential for Arabic Speakers

Comments on exponential

What made you want to look up exponential? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!