Definition of expound in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Present and explain (a theory or idea) systematically and in detail.

    ‘he was expounding a powerful argument’
    no object ‘he declined to expound on his decision’
    • ‘I liked his recent article in the newspaper, expounding the theory of ‘Narrative Politics’.’
    • ‘Harry loved to talk and could expound eloquently on just about any topic.’
    • ‘As well as his tours he published various essays expounding his ideas and methods.’
    • ‘Jean Jacques Rousseau expounded the idea that government rested on a social contract.’
    • ‘Perhaps he will expound at greater length on the relationships among art, artists, and politics.’
    • ‘Apparently, he expounds virtues and morals yet he has little to none.’
    • ‘The task of studying, clarifying, and expounding doctrines is typically the responsibility of a literate, educated élite.’
    • ‘Over the next 30 years he contributed 78 papers to international journals, many of them expounding his own theory of molecular attraction.’
    • ‘Nardini wholeheartedly expounds the idea that those in the public eye are obliged to raise the profile of organisations who struggle to avert major crises.’
    • ‘They also need to expound at length, to present their evidence and make their best argument.’
    • ‘The Thomas Merton Center expounds a Buddhist pacifist philosophy, along with advocating nonviolent protests and civil disobedience.’
    • ‘Liberalism's virtues are expounded with elegance, and at times a rather terse satirical cut.’
    • ‘They wanted me to expound on this topic because I had some decent ideas on the subject.’
    • ‘First, it is suggested that successive attempts to expound a Marxian theory of nature have see-sawed between naturalistic and social constructionist positions.’
    • ‘If Bruce expounds such views with a defiant gleam of vindication, it's understandable.’
    • ‘He used it as an opportunity to expound the idea of flexible integration.’
    • ‘Writing a monthly column usually means expounding on a single topic.’
    • ‘The Realist movement expounded the idea that art should rebel against the traditional historical, mythological and religious subjects in favour of unidealised scenes of modern life.’
    • ‘Nichols and Duffy expound at length about these influences from the Enlightenment.’
    • ‘In 1877, he expounded his theories on British prehistoric peoples in the book British Barrows written jointly with the famous barrow-opener William Greenwell.’
    present, put forward, set forth, proffer, offer, advance, propose, propound, frame, give an account of, recount
    elaborate on, expand on, expatiate on, dwell on, harp on, discuss at length
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    1. 1.1 Explain the meaning of (a literary or doctrinal work)
      ‘the abbess expounded the scriptures to her nuns’
      • ‘At the papal curia he was asked to expound the doctrine of the Latin church at a meeting with representatives of the Greek church.’
      • ‘These two Greek-speakers proceeded to expound the Scriptures and the Greek Fathers to the Anglo-Saxons in a distinctively eastern mode, giving pride of place to rhetoric.’
      • ‘But Harding finds that, in expounding that literal text and the lives of its prominent interpreters, they are constantly creating new truth.’
      • ‘Authors customarily used the commentary format not only to expound the works of Aristotle, but also as a vehicle for original philosophical theorizing.’
      • ‘We note when historical figures expound the meaning of Scripture in ways that are consistent with the biblical text, and times when they do not.’
      • ‘In most cases the parables of later Jewish teachers were used to illustrate or expound Scripture.’
      • ‘He argues that the exegetical work of the church has always had an interest in relevance, in practical application, as it expounds texts and doctrines.’
      • ‘It is amazing for a person who later expounded the doctrine of maximum efficiency to have accomplished such a feat.’
      • ‘The commentator must know the whole of Aristotle in order that, having first proved that Aristotle is consistent with himself, he may expound Aristotle's works by means of Aristotle's works.’
      • ‘Constantly new commentaries are coming out to try and expound the meaning of scripture.’
      • ‘The word ‘master’ meant a theologian who could expound the Scriptures.’
      • ‘If, then, we are to expound Scripture rightly, we must study it.’
      • ‘The task of studying, clarifying, and expounding doctrines is typically the responsibility of a literate, educated élite.’
      • ‘The whole of it was profoundly congenial, and the opening of the chapter on Nicene Orthodoxy, which expounds creatio ex nihilo and its implications for the doctrine of contemplation, was a revelation.’
      explain, interpret, explicate, elucidate
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Middle English expoune (in the sense ‘explain (what is difficult)’): from Old French espon-, present tense stem of espondre, from Latin exponere ‘expose, publish, explain’, from ex- ‘out’ + ponere ‘put’. The origin of the final -d (recorded from the Middle English period) is uncertain.