ex·​po·​si·​tion | \ ˌek-spə-ˈzi-shən How to pronounce exposition (audio) \

Essential Meaning of exposition

1 formal : the act of explaining something : clear explanation The subject requires some exposition. a clear exposition of his ideas
2 : a public show or exhibition the great Paris Exposition of 1889 have/hold/mount an international exposition

Full 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

Other Words from exposition

expositional \ ˌek-​spə-​ˈzish-​nəl How to pronounce exposition (audio) , -​ˈzi-​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms for exposition


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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 movie leans on a lot of exposition, partly to help guide viewers through the story’s denser thickets, but Villeneuve also uses his visuals to advance and clarify the narrative. New York Times, 20 Oct. 2021 Villeneuve, to his great credit, doesn’t hit audiences with dense paragraphs of exposition like those above. David Klion, The New Republic, 14 Oct. 2021 This would be a lot of information for Asimov newcomers to process even if the scripts weren’t also dense with tidbits of exposition, worldbuilding and high-level concepts both scientific and philosophical. Judy Berman, Time, 24 Sep. 2021 As always, Schrader has a knack for dialogue that rings both true yet unusual, though in this case there are a few errant moments of exposition that could use a little honing. Jeff Ewing, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 Lynch’s compromised version was similarly stymied and more clotted with exposition. Justin Chang Film Critic, Los Angeles Times, 3 Sep. 2021 As with his previous books, Wilczek deftly blends contemplative elements with a clear exposition of basic physics, adding cautious speculation about future experiments likely to reveal deeper facets of reality. Priyamvada Natarajan, The New York Review of Books, 15 June 2021 After a slow, meandering first episode that’s overburdened with exposition, Sewon performs his first brain sync. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, 5 Nov. 2021 Filled with exposition and inner monologues, the 15 books (six written by Herbert and nine completed posthumously by his son Brian and writer Kevin J. Anderson) have a breadth that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a visual medium. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 27 Oct. 2021

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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Time Traveler for exposition

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

19 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exposition.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exposition. Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for exposition


ex·​po·​si·​tion | \ ˌek-spə-ˈzi-shən How to pronounce exposition (audio) \

Kids Definition of exposition

1 : an explanation of something
2 : a public exhibition

More from Merriam-Webster on exposition

Nglish: Translation of exposition for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exposition for Arabic Speakers


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