[ek-spuh-zish-uh n]
See more synonyms for exposition on Thesaurus.com
  1. a large-scale public exhibition or show, as of art or manufactured products: an exposition of 19th-century paintings; an automobile exposition.
  2. the act of expounding, setting forth, or explaining: the exposition of a point of view.
  3. 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.
  4. the act of presenting to view; display: The singer gave a splendid exposition of vocal talent.
  5. exposure(def 12).
  6. the state of being uncovered, revealed, or otherwise exposed; exposure.
  7. Music. the first section of a fugue or a sonata form, in which the principal themes normally are introduced.
  8. (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 formsex·po·si·tion·al, adjectivepre·ex·po·si·tion, nounre·ex·po·si·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for expositional


  1. a systematic, usually written statement about, commentary on, or explanation of a specific subject
  2. the act of expounding or setting forth information or a viewpoint
  3. a large public exhibition, esp of industrial products or arts and crafts
  4. the act of exposing or the state of being exposed
  5. the part of a play, novel, etc, in which the theme and main characters are introduced
  6. music the first statement of the subjects or themes of a movement in sonata form or a fugue
  7. RC Church the exhibiting of the consecrated Eucharistic Host or a relic for public veneration
Derived Formsexpositional, adjective

Word Origin for exposition

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

Word Origin and History for expositional



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