Definition of exponent in US English:



  • 1A person who believes in and promotes the truth or benefits of an idea or theory.

    ‘an early exponent of the teachings of Thomas Aquinas’
    • ‘This looked like an all-too-arbitrary act by a king already known as an exponent of divine-right theory.’
    • ‘‘All my adult life, I was branded by officials as ‘an exponent of the right’ who wanted to bring capitalism back to our country,’ he wrote.’
    • ‘She is the best exponent of British social democracy in her generation, arguing for childcare as the missing plank of the British welfare state.’
    • ‘I remember a raging debate being conducted in the letters pages of the newspaper between British and American exponents of the English language.’
    • ‘Raised in Australia by right-on parents who encouraged political awareness and self-reliance, the actress is a keen exponent of down-to-earth living.’
    • ‘Gibbs and Heaviside had been early exponents of the vector calculus while its chief opponents had been Tait.’
    • ‘For a rather unfortunate meme has lately infected the minds of some leading exponents of a naturalistic worldview.’
    • ‘This is written by a strong exponent of vegetarianism, with supporting views from people she admits are extremists for animal rights.’
    • ‘However, the leading exponents of the open source ethic predate these events by more than a decade.’
    • ‘Further, his practical experience during a time of great economic stress made him an eloquent exponent of the idea that there are times when government has to play a leading role in solving economic problems.’
    • ‘Readers of this column will be aware, I am sure, that I have been a big exponent of the idea of a winter break in the past.’
    • ‘A champion of the poor and an ardent exponent of Christian unity, the Polish pontiff was a beacon of light.’
    • ‘Verdi is an exponent of the same ideas, the same sense of statecraft.’
    • ‘Dedicated exponents of free speech that they are, the site's editors have now banned one of the few centre-left people who ever posted on their message board.’
    • ‘The recently deceased Lord was the main exponent of the idea that aid did not work.’
    • ‘He was an enthusiastic exponent of the ‘Three Age System’, deducing support for it from his examinations of stratified and associated assemblages.’
    • ‘However their legacy was to revolutionise modern warfare and to perpetuate the work of their greatest exponent in the armies of the Allied victors.’
    • ‘The Italian exponents of lyrical and geometric abstraction were based in Milan and Como, and often worked together with Rationalist architects.’
    • ‘He's certainly slim, and he's also an exponent of positive thinking, judging by the way he saw potential in the near-derelict chapel standing in Essex.’
    • ‘In the nineteenth century there was a movement, of which Steiner was a principal exponent, to keep geometry pure and ward off the depredations of algebra.’
    advocate, supporter, proponent, upholder, backer, defender, champion
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    1. 1.1 A person who has and demonstrates a particular skill, especially to a high standard.
      ‘he's the world's leading exponent of country rock guitar’
      • ‘Despite its Olympic status, archery receives virtually no television coverage and its leading exponents earn next to nothing.’
      • ‘The face-off was an ideal opportunity for enthusiasts to soak in the craft of these two acclaimed exponents.’
      • ‘In other countries Klimt was hailed as a successful and important artist and one of the leading Austrian exponents of Jugendstil.’
      • ‘In English, Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll are its best-known exponents.’
      • ‘She received training in classical ballet at the prestigious academy and is also an exponent of modern, jazz and folkloric dancing.’
      • ‘For example, will the bill require all workplaces - as, indeed, Parliament - in future to have a sign language exponent?’
      • ‘Other basketball players have started careers with as much talent as Jordan, but none has worked as hard on his weaknesses, nor become as complete an exponent.’
      • ‘I have always had wonderful admiration for the sport and its great exponents.’
      • ‘The supreme exponent of that art-form is a woman.’
      • ‘The junior international judo exponent was also a county cross-country runner and track star before she took up rowing.’
      • ‘Eventually, Rae became the foremost exponent of native methods of Arctic survival and travel.’
      • ‘Wooden clubs meet and bamboo poles clatter as with split second accuracy, the exponents display their skill in the centuries old martial art form.’
      • ‘He went on to become one of the leading exponents of butoh in the world.’
      • ‘Hals, together with Rembrandt, became the greatest exponent of the group portrait.’
      • ‘Every sport has its heroes and most sports have their champion supreme - the greatest exponent of the sport in other words.’
      • ‘Was this a casting disaster or a cynical trick by two of contemporary cinema's leading exponents?’
      • ‘He is the greatest exponent of marketing of sport in the modern era there has been.’
      • ‘Returning to aikido, the attitude that one's teacher is the supreme exponent of the art has many undesirable consequences.’
      • ‘He has spent the last ten years performing in Europe, after leaving his native America where he had become one of the leading exponents of the Mississippi Delta Blues style of playing.’
      • ‘A series of concerts are held over the summer months featuring the finest living exponents of traditional music.’
      practitioner, performer, player
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  • 2Mathematics
    A quantity representing the power to which a given number or expression is to be raised, usually expressed as a raised symbol beside the number or expression (e.g. 3 in 2³ = 2 × 2 × 2).

    • ‘He was one of the first to use exponents to represent powers and he used mathematics as a model for the natural sciences.’
    • ‘Although we now think of logarithms as the exponents to which one must raise the base to get the required number, this is a modern way of thinking.’
    • ‘Such power laws with exponents close to 2 have been shown for several biopolymers, where the polymer concentration corresponds to that of gel preparation.’
    • ‘When the exponent is a prime number, I say that its radical less one is divisible by twice the exponent.’
    • ‘They can solve routine problems involving fractions and per cents, recognize properties of basic geometric figures, and work with exponents and square roots.’
  • 3Linguistics
    A linguistic unit that realizes another, more abstract unit.

    • ‘One approach to these complex verb forms might be to analyse exponents of progressive and perfective aspect (be and have) as modifiers of the bare verb.’


Late 16th century (as an adjective in the sense ‘expounding’): from Latin exponent- ‘putting out’, from the verb exponere (see expound).