Expound vs expand

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Expand and expound are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation. They are often confused. We will look at the difference between the meanings of expand and expound, the origins of these two words, and some examples of their use in sentences.

Expound means to explain something in detail, to set forth an argument. Expound is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are expounds, expounded, expounding, expounder. The word expound is derived from the Latin exponere, which means to expose, to put forth, to offer, to disembark.

Expand means to make something larger, to increase something in size, scope or extent. Expand may also mean to spread out, to stretch out. Finally, expand may also mean to elaborate upon a story. This is the meaning which is often confused with expound. Remember, expound means to explain something in detail, expand means to add detail to an explanation that has already been given. Expand is a verb that is derived from the Latin word expandere which means to unfold, to spread out. Related words are expands, expanded, expanding, expander.


The Port City Brewing Company will move and expand its operations on the West End, aided by a grant from the commonwealth and matching city funds, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announced last week. (The Alexandria Times)

Opponents countered that the proposal, especially when legislative Republicans expanded on it, was mean-spirited and part of a broader effort to undermine the broader federal Affordable Care Act under which Ohio had expanded its Medicaid rolls. (The Toledo Blade)

I don’t have enough space to expound on all of the reasons but, suffice it to say, in the words of the inimitable Walt Kelly’s beloved Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” (The Daily Post-Athenian)