Printable Version
Pronunciation: eks-po-zay Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A formal presentation exposing something, especially shocking facts of a scandal or other embarrassment.

Notes: Here is a word where we shouldn't omit the accent mark on the final E for the sake of clarity. Otherwise, this word becomes the verb to expose, even though the origin of both words is the same. English has another word referring to the result of all other types of exposing, exposure. Expose, in fact, is the progenitor of a huge lexical family, including adjectives expository and expositive and two common nouns expositor and exposition.

In Play: The target of all exposés is dirty linen: "Rhoda Book published a shocking exposé about the secret lives of librarians." Exposés are the bane of all heads of organizations: "The president of the college protected the scandalous behavior of his faculty by buying off the writers of exposés."

Word History: Today's Good Word was the past participle of French exposer "display, exhibit, show", passed down from Latin exponere "exhibit, reveal, publish", from ex "(out, away) from" + ponere "to put, place". French changed the N to an S by confusion of poner with with poser "to place, put", that French had reduced from Latin pausare "to stop, pause, rest". This Latin verb is based on the noun pausa "a stop, hesitation", borrowed from Greek pausis "stopping, ceasing". The Greek noun was derived from pauein "to stop, hold back", a word of uncertain etymology with no known cognates outside Greek. Spanish did not confuse ponere with posere, so Latin exponere turned up as exponer, but Catalan did, and turned the Latin verb into exposar. Italian esporre and Portuguese expor suggest that these languages simply eliminated the N.

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!