Definition of exposition in English:



  • 1A comprehensive description and explanation of an idea or theory.

    ‘the exposition and defense of his ethics’
    • ‘There are other expositions of the theory of dialectics which present it in opposition to formal logic.’
    • ‘This book is a timely exposition of the theory, research, and clinical techniques associated with emotion and the expression of emotion.’
    • ‘If you read standard expositions of Quantum Theory you can put together a certain list of the things that are not effects.’
    • ‘These reviews remain the most comprehensible expositions of the essential elements of regulation.’
    • ‘U.S.-based readers will be particularly thankful for an exposition of European theory and research, most of which has been ignored on our side of the pond.’
    • ‘Dundes is to be congratulated on his choice of essayists and on his clear exposition of their key ideas placed in an illuminating historical and autobiographical context.’
    • ‘The first edition of the Critique contained a lengthy exposition of the theory of transcendental idealism.’
    • ‘The idea of a philosophical exposition of the human passions was by no means new.’
    • ‘Wood provides a systematic exposition of the idea of biodiversity.’
    • ‘He was widely known for his exposition of the ideas of physics to the layman, and he was held in affection by his many colleagues and pupils for the warmth and simple directness of his personality.’
    • ‘Nadel is excellent at providing an exposition of Stoppard's ideas and the wider social context in which he lives.’
    • ‘It may well be defensible, but it does not receive anything like an adequate exposition, never mind defence, here.’
    • ‘The way in which Antiochus appeals to human nature and its development in the exposition and defense of his ethics is modeled closely on Stoic theory, however.’
    • ‘Finding examples of grounded theory that reveal all its facets and stages is very difficult, and it is unsurprising that many expositions of grounded theory fall back on the original illustrations.’
    • ‘If you're going to have a sermon at all, it must be a sermon that invites people into an experience, a relationship, and not simply into an exposition or an explanation.’
    • ‘There are signposts in the text but Desai stops so frequently to admire the scenery that they are buried beneath lengthy expositions and descriptions of the setting sun.’
    • ‘This is an extremely well written and sympathetic essay, which rarely strays beyond an exposition of Guattari's ideas and their evolution.’
    • ‘This is not a matter of giving a semi-popular exposition of the latest theories.’
    • ‘Intriguingly, the author of this cataclysmic theatrical moment politely refused to engage in either explanations or expositions about his work.’
    • ‘The importance of this survey lies in its synthetic descriptions and in its clear expositions on what needs to be further studied in this area.’
    explanation, description, elucidation, explication, interpretation, illustration
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    1. 1.1Music The part of a movement, especially in sonata form, in which the principal themes are first presented.
      • ‘His measured, lyrical exposition of the movement's second theme seemed to touch the very soul of the music.’
      • ‘The exposition of this symphony, for example, is usually taken as singing pure and simple.’
      • ‘The exposition contains a first theme in two parts, transition, two secondary themes, and a 19-bar closing section.’
      • ‘Hummel's paring down of Mozart's work lays bare the exposition and development of themes with absolute clarity.’
      • ‘Thus a sonata exposition, which in Mozart or Beethoven may often have two contrasting themes, is said to have a ‘first subject’ and a ‘second subject’.’
    2. 1.2 The part of a play or work of fiction in which the background to the main conflict is introduced.
      • ‘The book clearly starts with the exposition where Huck introduced himself as a character from Tom Sawyer and the son of a town drunk.’
      • ‘A film's exposition serves two main functions: First, it inspires the audience to become involved with the movie.’
      • ‘Now the ghost, in the role of prompter, gives the necessary background exposition and the initial orders to get the play going.’
      • ‘The way in which the protagonist lovingly pets her samosas tells you more about her social aspirations than any number of pages of clunky exposition could.’
      • ‘The film was all introduction, exposition, and meaningless fights.’
      • ‘As a reward for reading through the extensive exposition, the conflict fleshes out dynamically in chapter three, so hurry up and read it!’
      • ‘And while exposition may be the enemy of the lyric, in the prose-poem it replenishes, frames up, fills out a world the verse lyric is too often the fragment of.’
      • ‘Thus to start his elegant quiet suite of dedicated poems, he leads with a ‘Note’ of rather outre exposition that is really a prose-poem.’
      • ‘The best story that Hannah has written is the first story in this book, a story that is impossible to do justice to, even at the level of narrative exposition.’
      • ‘The majority of each episode, then, is focused squarely on the human drama at hand, with a very methodical and patient exposition of the conflicts that arise.’
      • ‘A later scene provides a more serious and extended exposition of a similar situation, and develops in more depth its implications.’
      • ‘Narrative is about uses of time, and is measured through extension and contraction, exposition and suggestion.’
      • ‘The novel begins with a full chapter of exposition without the introduction of any of the main characters.’
      • ‘As often as not, details are juxtaposed without transition or exposition: each sentence bristles in a different direction.’
      • ‘Everyone is caught on the run, without exposition or character background - as if we were dropped into this tumultuous world like the proverbial fly on the wall.’
      • ‘Most filmmakers give you scads of exposition to introduce you to characters and narrative.’
      • ‘Their rhetorics may be separate but their emotional builds of exposition, complication, climax, resolution, and reconciliation run parallel.’
      • ‘As an outsider to the community, the bulk of his dialogue seems to be the posing of questions to other characters, rendering him little more than a vehicle of exposition at times.’
  • 2A large public exhibition of art or trade goods.

    • ‘And relocating residents and businesses is a much more significant issue for Shanghai Expo 2010 than for previous expositions.’
    • ‘Since she graduated from University in 1986, her artworks have been exhibited and frequently awarded at national expositions.’
    • ‘With Georges being a supplier of equipment for the construction industry, their life was going to trade shows and expositions.’
    • ‘The International Technical Fair is the largest exposition held in Bulgaria.’
    • ‘Pearls and pearl products will be on display at the exposition, which will be open to public though it specifically targets pearl dealers and jewellery houses.’
    • ‘His woodblock prints have been widely exhibited at national Chinese and also at international expositions - in the U.S.A, Japan, Spain and Taiwan.’
    • ‘Quite small, the LC2 range was designed primarily for apartments and featured in furniture expositions at the time.’
    • ‘Eurosatory 2002, one of the world's largest defense expositions, held in Paris in June, was a great success.’
    • ‘The workshop founded in Moscow in 1853 grew rapidly into a factory, and its works were also exhibited regularly at international expositions.’
    • ‘Over 130 companies will have their wares on display, with big expositions from most major auto manufacturers.’
    • ‘The company promotes trade shows and expositions, and publishes books, including the famous ‘For Dummies’ series, among other activities.’
    • ‘The format belongs to a recent genre of installation art found in international expositions, that of the mock street bazaar.’
    • ‘He believes that many galleries have become expert globetrotters, exhibiting at all of the major expositions, be they in Basel, Paris, New York or San Francisco.’
    • ‘Similar to the inaugural event in Beijing two years ago, the exposition in Shanghai also featured a wide range of exhibitions on world soccer.’
    • ‘The Ministry of Industry and Trade organises one of the biggest country expositions to meet the interest of Czech exporters.’
    • ‘The exposition Precious Stones contains about 1,500 exhibits.’
    • ‘Photographs were widely used at the exposition, where the public's thirst for vicarious pleasure seemed insatiable.’
    • ‘Horticultural Hall was the largest structure built for the exposition, which heightened public awareness about landscaping open urban spaces.’
    • ‘This landmark fair was the first of the international expositions held in the United States to integrate the decorative arts with the fine arts objects on view.’
    • ‘Tiffany assured himself a global reputation by displaying his products at international expositions, where they were widely acclaimed and rewarded with medals.’
    exhibition, fair, trade fair, display, show, presentation, demonstration
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  • 3archaic The action of making public; exposure.

    ‘the country squires dreaded the exposition of their rustic conversation’


Middle English: from Latin expositio(n-), from the verb exponere ‘expose, publish, explain’.