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[ek-spuh-zish-uh n] /ˌɛk spəˈzɪʃ ən/
a large-scale public exhibition or show, as of art or manufactured products:
an exposition of 19th-century paintings; an automobile exposition.
the act of expounding, setting forth, or explaining:
the exposition of a point of view.
writing or speech primarily intended to convey information or to explain; a detailed statement or explanation; explanatory treatise:
The students prepared expositions on familiar essay topics.
the act of presenting to view; display:
The singer gave a splendid exposition of vocal talent.
exposure (def 12).
the state of being uncovered, revealed, or otherwise exposed; exposure.
Music. the first section of a fugue or a sonata form, in which the principal themes normally are introduced.
(in a play, novel, etc.) dialogue, description, etc., that gives the audience or reader the background of the characters and the present situation.
Origin of exposition
1300-50; Middle English exposicioun < Latin expositiōn- (stem of expositiō), equivalent to exposit(us) (see expose) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
expositional, adjective
preexposition, noun
reexposition, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for exposition
  • And it's also the smartest way I've ever seen a sitcom give its exposition.
  • It doesn't help that the pacing is weighed down in exposition and talkiness.
  • It's something of a masterpiece of exposition in laying out the entire argument.
  • They planned to attend a trade exposition before heading to Beijing.
  • The level of exposition is generally high, though none of it is light reading.
  • Many volumes of exposition, logical or sociological in character, have appeared.
  • To me this makes perfect family reading, with great art, story and plenty of well-written exposition to read.
  • About 2000 delegates are expected to attend the four-day exposition next March.
  • My only real complaint about the book is that there seems to be a whole lot of exposition without a lot of action.
  • They are the voice and exposition of liberty.
British Dictionary definitions for exposition


a systematic, usually written statement about, commentary on, or explanation of a specific subject
the act of expounding or setting forth information or a viewpoint
a large public exhibition, esp of industrial products or arts and crafts
the act of exposing or the state of being exposed
the part of a play, novel, etc, in which the theme and main characters are introduced
(music) the first statement of the subjects or themes of a movement in sonata form or a fugue
(RC Church) the exhibiting of the consecrated Eucharistic Host or a relic for public veneration
Derived Forms
expositional, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin expositiō a setting forth, from expōnere to display; see exponent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for exposition

late 14c., "explanation, narration," from Old French esposicion (12c.), from Latin expositionem (nominative expositio) "a setting or showing forth," noun of action from past participle stem of exponere (see expound).

The meaning "public display" is first recorded 1851 in reference to the Crystal Palace Exposition in London. Abbreviation Expo is first recorded 1963, in reference to planning for the world's fair held in Montreal in 1967.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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