ex·​po·​si·​tion | \ ˌek-spə-ˈzi-shən \

Definition of exposition

1 : a setting forth of the meaning or purpose (as of a writing)
2a : discourse or an example of it designed to convey information or explain what is difficult to understand
b(1) : the first part of a musical composition in sonata form in which the thematic material of the movement is presented
(2) : the opening section of a fugue
3 : a public exhibition or show

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Other Words from exposition

expositional \ ˌek-​spə-​ˈzish-​nəl , -​ˈzi-​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms for exposition


display, exhibit, exhibition, expo, fair, show

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Examples of exposition in a Sentence

This is not an easy book, and the reader may find the layers of detail challenging. There are long expositions of the knotty tangles of monarchical lineage, and the necessary chronicle of historical events occasionally consumes the novel's narrative drive. — Lucy Lethbridge, Commonweal, 23 Oct. 2009 He is masterly in absorbing information and masterful in organizing it—skeptical of fashion, clear in exposition, fluent in communication, unremittingly scholarly. — Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, New York Times Book Review, 11 June 2000 Although they were invited to use an early X ray machine on display at the exposition, they turned down the offer, and they never found the bullet. — T. Burton Smith, American Heritage, September 1992 The subject requires some exposition. a clear exposition of his ideas
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Recent Examples on the Web

The history of Jews in America is not a story lacking in exposition. Liel Leibovitz, WSJ, "‘The Chosen Wars’ Review: Finding Their Place in America," 7 Oct. 2018 Not much actually happens in the musical, though the rapid pace of the songs and acrobatic dancing can fool you into thinking there’s more to the story than exposition and hip thrusts. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Is the World Ready for Taylor Swift in Cats?," 20 July 2018 Unfortunately, her tone flattens during the exposition between conversation. Jenni Laidman, chicagotribune.com, "Summer audiobooks to pack for your next road trip," 21 May 2018 Parkside is known as the city’s Centennial Neighborhood for its connection to the exposition. Julia Terruso, Philly.com, "$5 million improvement to Fairmount Park could signal revival in Parkside," 14 June 2018 Most of the rest are sad solos that are heavy on plot exposition but light on catchy melody. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "'Love Never Dies' looks great, but less filling," 29 Mar. 2018 There’s a lot going on here, which leads to a whole lot of gassy exposition to explain it all, including two separate scenes in which two different groups of good guys are tied to chairs while villains bloviate on the intricacies of the plot. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’: Paul Rudd is back in busy little sequel," 2 July 2018 This overstuffed-but-empty feeling is exacerbated by the fact that there’s a ton of exposition going on, particularly in the first quarter of the season. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "What went right and what went wrong for Luke Cage’s second season," 22 June 2018 For black women Another event setting up shop this weekend at McCormick Place (2301 S. Martin Luther King Drive), the Black Women’s Expo is a national exposition tour that originated in Chicago. Adam Lukach, RedEye Chicago, "5 things to do this weekend in Chicago," 5 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exposition.' 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 exposition

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for exposition

see exposit

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Last Updated

5 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exposition

The first known use of exposition was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for exposition



English Language Learners Definition of exposition

formal : the act of explaining something : clear explanation
: a public show or exhibition


ex·​po·​si·​tion | \ ˌek-spə-ˈzi-shən \

Kids Definition of exposition

1 : an explanation of something
2 : a public exhibition

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