Definition of exponential in English:



  • 1(of an increase) becoming more and more rapid.

    ‘the social security budget was rising at an exponential rate’
    • ‘The growth of skateboarding continues to increase at an exponential rate.’
    • ‘We are now in a similar position with regard to biology, where we see an even sharper exponential increase in the amount of DNA sequence information to come.’
    • ‘As technology increases at an exponential pace, I think the average citizen is embracing it at a much slower rate.’
    • ‘As you'll soon learn, an exponential increase in strength and effectiveness is best met with restraint and caution, not bloodlust.’
    • ‘Right now, the growth looks exponential, but increasing competition may yet dampen it down.’
    • ‘Well, unfortunately the models produce linear warming with exponential increases in carbon dioxide.’
    • ‘Notwithstanding that these growth rates are not precisely exponential, in all cases they are clearly not linear.’
    • ‘This led to an exponential increase in the number of troops based in the area.’
    • ‘The organism has an exponential rate of evolution, and it is not long before the community is affected and the government takes over the case.’
    • ‘The amount of information on the internet is increasing at an exponential rate.’
    • ‘He has filled out considerably, seems to have aged at an exponential rate and, tonight, looks every inch the trendy uncle in his hooded top and combat trousers.’
    • ‘Right now the chip-music scene is growing at an exponential rate.’
    • ‘The MEPS model predicts an exponential decrease in recombination rate in relation to the level of divergence.’
    • ‘Human civilisation has developed at an exponential rate since the renaissance, during a time when the environment has been in a relatively benign state.’
    • ‘Species have a tendency to increase in size over generations at an exponential rate.’
    • ‘Now, with exponential increases in information, we can't possibly provide students with all they will need to know.’
    • ‘While my environmental knowledge is limited, I am learning at an exponential rate.’
    • ‘That said, it's fairly obvious why the machine is selling at near exponential rates.’
    • ‘Unlike its stalling economy, soccer in Japan is in something of a boom cycle, with its stock climbing at an exponential rate in the last few years.’
    • ‘Finally, the volume and flow of potentially relevant information has increased seemingly at an exponential rate.’
  • 2Mathematics
    Of or expressed by a mathematical exponent.

    ‘an exponential curve’
    • ‘The dashed curve is an exponential distribution with a mean equal to the average effect of a fixed mutation in the simulation.’
    • ‘Just as the forward function resembles the exponential curve, the inverse function appears similar to the logarithm.’
    • ‘Napier also found exponential expressions for trigonometric functions, and introduced the decimal notation for fractions.’
    • ‘Those of you familiar with the mathematics of an exponential curve will note, however, that it is one of diminishing returns.’
    • ‘The distributions become approximately exponential when the curve shown here asymptotes.’


Early 18th century: from French exponentiel, from Latin exponere put out (see expound).