[ik-spoh-nuhnt, ek-spoh-nuhnt]
See more synonyms for exponent on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person or thing that expounds, explains, or interprets: an exponent of modern theory in the arts.
  2. a person or thing that is a representative, advocate, type, or symbol of something: Lincoln is an exponent of American democracy.
  3. Mathematics. a symbol or number placed above and after another symbol or number to denote the power to which the latter is to be raised: The exponents of the quantities xn, 2m, y4, and 35 are, respectively, n, m, 4, and 5.

Origin of exponent

1575–85; < Latin expōnent- (stem of expōnēns), present participle of expōnere to expound; see -ent

Synonyms for exponent

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for exponent

Contemporary Examples of exponent

Historical Examples of exponent

  • The exponent of Rousseau was ofttimes "long preaching," like St. Paul.

    In the Heart of Vosges

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • The popular type and exponent of obstinacy is the mule, a most intelligent animal.

  • Only, the forest-runner, by long use, has raised the exponent of his powers.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • Francesca Caccini was an exponent of the first growth of opera.

  • Afterward she had simply become in memory the exponent of an ideal.


    George Washington Cable

British Dictionary definitions for exponent


  1. (usually foll by of) a person or thing that acts as an advocate (of an idea, cause, etc)
  2. a person or thing that explains or interprets
  3. a performer or interpretive artist, esp a musician
  4. Also called: power, index maths a number or variable placed as a superscript to the right of another number or quantity indicating the number of times the number or quantity is to be multiplied by itself
  1. offering a declaration, explanation, or interpretation

Word Origin for exponent

C16: from Latin expōnere to set out, expound, from pōnere to set, place
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

Word Origin and History for exponent

1706, from Latin exponentem (nominative exponens), present participle of exponere "put forth" (see expound). A mathematical term at first; the sense of "one who expounds" is 1812. As an adjective, from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

exponent in Science


[ĕkspō′nənt, ĭk-spōnənt]
  1. A number or symbol, placed above and to the right of the expression to which it applies, that indicates the number of times the expression is used as a factor. For example, the exponent 3 in 53 indicates 5 X 5 X 5; the exponent x in (a + b)x indicates (a + b) multiplied by itself x times.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

exponent in Culture


A number placed above and to the right of another number to show that it has been raised to a power. For example, 32 indicates that 3 has been raised to a power of 2, or multiplied by itself; 32 is equal to 9.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.