Expose vs exposé

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Expose and exposé are two words that are related, but have slightly different meanings. We will examine the definitions of the words expose and exposé, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Expose means to uncover something, thereby making it visible, or to leave something in an unprotected situation. For instance, the term infant exposure or exposed at birth refers to the practice in ancient cultures of leaving an unwanted child, unprotected, to the elements of nature. Expose may also mean to make someone vulnerable, as well as to introduce someone to a new thought or idea. Finally, to expose oneself in public means to display one’s genitals. Expose is a verb, related terms are exposes, exposed, exposing, the noun form is exposure. The word expose is derived from the Latin word exponere, meaning to exhibit or reveal.

Exposé is a noun which means a news article, book, movie or electronic report that reveals a hidden truth about someone or something. Usually an exposé is an investigative piece that reveals information which is shocking or surprising. One famous example of an exposé is the novel The Jungle, written by Upton Sinclair. In the novel, Sinclair exposes the unsanitary practices in the meat packing industry at the turn of the twentieth century, as well as the inhuman working conditions. A more recent example of an exposé is the groundbreaking article published in The New Yorker concerning the alleged behavior of Harvey Weinstein, written by Ronan Farrow. The word exposé is a borrowed word or loan word, which is one that is taken from another language and used as an English word. In this case, exposé is derived from the French verb exposer meaning to expose. Note that the word is properly rendered with an accent.


Media reports in South Africa said that criminal proceedings had begun against Pauw, who published his exposé of Zuma’s government, The President’s Keepers, late last month. (The Guardian)

One of the landlords featured in the RTÉ Investigates exposé on overcrowded, unsafe and unsanitary lettings has a track record of cramming people into accommodation and raking in thousands of euro a month. (The Irish Times)