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

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 How to pronounce expositional (audio) , -​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 exposition, now in its eighth year, was expected to draw about 40,000 people to the Broadway Pier and Pavilion over the holiday weekend. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Eighth annual U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge draws thousands to downtown San Diego," 1 Sep. 2019 Although in the form of fiction, this exposition of the Party served as Koestler’s anti-Communist credentials. David Pryce-jones, National Review, "The Cold War of Words," 22 Aug. 2019 And replacing Shakespearean scansion with looser Seuss-ish rhyme schemes would add to the comedy and make the long bouts of exposition at the beginning and end of the play less tedious. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "Review: Elm Shakespeare’s ‘Comedy of Errors’ a joyous, joke-based stroll in the park," 19 Aug. 2019 This host was a new character, and therefore could have been a random face to help with exposition. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "Rob Thomas reveals who almost appeared in that iZombie finale cameo instead," 2 Aug. 2019 By looking at these customs through the eyes of a partial outsider, the film offers plenty of exposition to help guide Western audiences, while encouraging them to observe proceedings closely and curiously. N.e.g., The Economist, "“The Farewell” is a poignant study of family, tradition and identity," 16 July 2019 Many chapters of exposition are devoted to introducing a large cast of characters in four families who live in a tony Colorado town with all the right progressive attitudes (think Boulder). Ron Charles Critic, Washington Post, "Parents will stop at nothing to get their kids into a prestigious school," 16 July 2019 Instead of belaboring, with tedious exposition, the specifics of a culture and setting that are rare, if not unique in cinema, the director turns in the opposite direction. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Review: ‘The Third Wife’ is a story told with deft, lush strokes," 27 June 2019 So much of the exposition is dispatched with long reams of dialogue during scenes wherein a random comedic sidebar distracts from any pertinent information. Katie Walsh, chicagotribune.com, "'Shaft' review: Reboot is a bad mother," 12 June 2019

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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Statistics for exposition

Last Updated

14 Sep 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 How to pronounce exposition (audio) \

Kids Definition of exposition

1 : an explanation of something
2 : a public exhibition

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Comments on exposition

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


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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