Definition of exposition in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌekspəˈziSH(ə)n/


1A comprehensive description and explanation of an idea or theory: the exposition and defense of his ethics
More example sentences
  • The first edition of the Critique contained a lengthy exposition of the theory of transcendental idealism.
  • Finding examples of grounded theory that reveal all its facets and stages is very difficult, and it is unsurprising that many expositions of grounded theory fall back on the original illustrations.
  • This is an extremely well written and sympathetic essay, which rarely strays beyond an exposition of Guattari's ideas and their evolution.
explanation, description, elucidation, explication, interpretation;
account, commentary, appraisal, assessment, discussion, exegesis
1.1 Music The part of a movement, especially in sonata form, in which the principal themes are first presented.
Example sentences
  • Thus a sonata exposition, which in Mozart or Beethoven may often have two contrasting themes, is said to have a ‘first subject’ and a ‘second subject’.
  • The exposition contains a first theme in two parts, transition, two secondary themes, and a 19-bar closing section.
  • His measured, lyrical exposition of the movement's second theme seemed to touch the very soul of the music.
1.2The part of a play or work of fiction in which the background to the main conflict is introduced.
Example sentences
  • Now the ghost, in the role of prompter, gives the necessary background exposition and the initial orders to get the play going.
  • The book clearly starts with the exposition where Huck introduced himself as a character from Tom Sawyer and the son of a town drunk.
  • Everyone is caught on the run, without exposition or character background - as if we were dropped into this tumultuous world like the proverbial fly on the wall.
2A large public exhibition of art or trade goods.
Example sentences
  • Similar to the inaugural event in Beijing two years ago, the exposition in Shanghai also featured a wide range of exhibitions on world soccer.
  • The company promotes trade shows and expositions, and publishes books, including the famous ‘For Dummies’ series, among other activities.
  • With Georges being a supplier of equipment for the construction industry, their life was going to trade shows and expositions.
exhibition, fair, trade fair, trade show, show, expo, display, presentation, demonstration, exhibit
2.1 archaic The action of making public; exposure: the country squires dreaded the exposition of their rustic conversation



Pronunciation: /-ziSHənl/
Example sentences
  • It can be used for expositional purposes, in the form of diagrams.
  • Several expositional scenes are played out not with actors, but instead with text boxes and silhouette portraits of the characters, as we would see in an adventure game.
  • This disparity may be due to a longstanding view among many educators that expositional informational books are too difficult for children.


Middle English: from Latin expositio(n-), from the verb exponere 'put out, exhibit, explain'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ex·po·si·tion

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