ex·​pos·​i·​to·​ry | \ ik-ˈspä-zə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce expository (audio) \

Definition of expository

: of, relating to, or containing exposition expository writing

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Examples of expository in a Sentence

an expository piece on the workings of the internal-combustion engine

Recent Examples on the Web

Whether explaining his dastardly plans to the audience or whispering sweet poison into Othello’s ear, this Iago’s manner is usually jocular and expository. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: A Cool-Tempered ‘Othello’ for Warm Central Park Nights," 18 June 2018 Their function is always expressive, never expository; each memory is a jagged, explosive little reminder of Joe's past, forever bearing down on his present. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Joaquin Phoenix descends into a hellish New York underworld in the haunting 'You Were Never Really Here'," 5 Apr. 2018 From the first Avengers onward, each single movie has been obliged to carry a narrative and expository burden that can threaten to eclipse the film's discrete purpose. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "In Sheer Scope, Avengers: Infinity War Is an Unreplicable Success," 26 Apr. 2018 Ignoring the current novelistic fashion, Pollack presents heaps of expository information in the first few pages, before any of the action really starts. Ilana Masad, New York Times, "In This Novel, a Grieving Widow Becomes the Detective Hero," 20 Apr. 2018 The music in season two is effectively a character in and of itself, functioning almost as an expository device and emphasizing various aspects of the park. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Westworld season 2: “The puppet show is over and we are coming for you”," 13 Apr. 2018 After some expository work, an older — and more womanly — Gloria emerges, and the pastel colors give way to a more sensual palette of royal purple, magenta, and metallics to suggest maturity. Brandon T. Harden, Philly.com, "'On Your Feet!': A sizzling celebration of Latin-American music and dance," 12 Apr. 2018 The book’s ten sections are clearly laid out, with information about each plant’s cellular structure and proper nomenclature discretely tucked into the clear, expository text. Barbara Paul Robinson, WSJ, "Green Thoughts," 11 Apr. 2018 This is not to suggest that Ms. Kennedy, at 86, has made new concessions to narrative conventions or expository clarity. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box,’ Adrienne Kennedy’s Beautiful Nightmare," 30 Jan. 2018

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

1628, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for expository

The first known use of expository was in 1628

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English Language Learners Definition of expository

chiefly US, somewhat formal used to describe writing that is done to explain something

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Comments on expository

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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