[ ek-suh-bish-uh-nist ]
/ ˌɛk səˈbɪʃ ə nɪst /


a person who behaves in ways intended to attract attention or display his or her powers, personality, etc.
Psychiatry. a person afflicted with the compulsions of exhibitionism.



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Origin of exhibitionist

First recorded in 1815–25; exhibition + -ist

OTHER WORDS FROM exhibitionist

ex·hi·bi·tion·is·tic, adjectiveex·hi·bi·tion·is·ti·cal·ly, adverbnon·ex·hi·bi·tion·is·tic, adjectivesem·i·ex·hi·bi·tion·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What does exhibitionist mean?

In psychiatry, an exhibitionist is someone who has a compulsion to exhibit, or display, their genitals in public. Exhibitionist can also be used in nonclinical, everyday speech to refer to a show-off or a person who overshares.

A popular slang term for exhibitionist is flasher, but keep in mind that a person diagnosed as an exhibitionist has a clinical disorder.

Example: She called him an exhibitionist for his tendency to share too much personal information at parties.

Where does exhibitionist come from?

Exhibitionist is first recorded in the early 1800s for a person who takes part in an exhibition, or a public performance or art showing. Exhibition and the verb exhibit are derived from the Latin exhibēre, “to put on display, present.” The psychiatric sense of exhibitionist emerges in the late 1800s, and today, exhibitionism is called exhibitionistic disorder.

Artists, especially painters and sculptors, exhibit their artwork at galleries for people to view—and buy. Companies also exhibit new products at special conventions, and academics, their research at conferences. It’s clearer to refer these types of presenters as exhibitors, due to the common psychological sense and sexual associations of exhibitionist.

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What are some other forms of exhibitionist?

  • exhibitionism (noun)
  • exhibitionistic (adjective)
  • exhibitionistically (adverb)

What are some synonyms for exhibitionist?

What are some words that share a root or word element with exhibitionist?


What are some words that often get used in discussing exhibitionist?

What are some words exhibitionist may be commonly confused with?

How is exhibitionist used in real life?

Two important notes in exhibitionist in the context of psychiatry and justice:

  1. An exhibitionist is a person with a real clinical disorder.
  2. The act of exhibitionism is a form of sexual assault and a crime.

That said, exhibitionist is sometimes more loosely used to refer to people who privately and consensually display their private parts. The label exhibitionist is also used more generally for someone who puts themselves on public display, especially in a showy, revealing, or uncomfortable way.

Try using exhibitionist!

Is exhibitionist used appropriately in the following sentence?

My best friend is a real exhibitionist; she makes new friends so easily!