ex·​po·​si·​tion ˌek-spə-ˈzi-shən How to pronounce exposition (audio)
: a setting forth of the meaning or purpose (as of a writing)
: discourse or an example of it designed to convey information or explain what is difficult to understand
: the first part of a musical composition in sonata form in which the thematic material of the movement is presented
: the opening section of a fugue
: a public exhibition or show
expositional adjective

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
Recent Examples on the Web The characters here are not as particularly compelling, especially in the first act, which is heavy on exposition. Karen D'souza, The Mercury News, 31 May 2024 The actor then dispensed exposition that somehow tied all the conflicting plots, sets and characters together, and the story moved on to a quick, economical ending. Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 May 2024 This political backdrop hovers over the story via news broadcasts in the background, but the film never cuts away from its subjects for the sake of exposition. Siddhant Adlakha, Variety, 3 May 2024 Instead of letting the queen do the necessary exposition, it’s all delivered by host Fred. Barry Levitt, Vulture, 19 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for exposition 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'exposition.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see exposit

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near exposition

Cite this Entry

“Exposition.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exposition. Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


ex·​po·​si·​tion ˌek-spə-ˈzish-ən How to pronounce exposition (audio)
: an explanation of something
: a piece of writing that explains
: the first part of a piece of music in which the theme is presented
: a public exhibition

More from Merriam-Webster on exposition

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