Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Exhibition And Fair

What is the difference between an exhibition and a fair? Both words are nouns and can be used to describe a traveling or temporary public event, usually held outdoors or in a public arena, where things are put on display. There is a subtle difference in the usage of the words and broadness of the definitions.

‘Exhibition’ is a general term for any event that things are put out in a public space for people to come and look at. The word is a noun and is a form of the verb ‘exhibit’, which means to show or display something and is related to the word ‘exposition’ which is a public show, discourse or exhibition. Commonly, ‘exhibition’ is used with works of art and museums. For example: We went to the new exhibition at the museum to see Van Gogh’s artwork. However, ‘exhibition’ can be used with any object placed on public display. For example: The exhibition featured a display of artifacts from Ancient Egypt. It can also have the meaning of the act of showing something in public, such as an athletic skill, demonstration of something or some other quality or trait. For example: The player made an exhibition of his running ability for the crowd.

‘Fair’ has multiple definitions as an adjective, adverb, verb and noun. ‘Fair’ when used as a noun in the sense of an event, it has several nuances of meanings. It can mean a gathering of people at a particular time and place to buy, sell or trade items. For example: We are going to the craft fair this weekend to sell our handmade scarves. A fair can also be an event to showcase a product, like a book fair, or to promote services or opportunities, such as a job fair. For example: Our company has a fair once a year to hire new employees and let the community know about our services. ‘Fair’ can also mean a competitive exhibit of things or abilities with amusements and other entertainment. For example: I won first place for my pie at this year’s county fair. Usually, these types of fairs are held during the summer months once a year and feature displays of agriculture, animals and cooking, along with rides, amusements, games and food vendors.

While most fairs contain exhibitions, not all exhibitions are fairs. At a fair, something is usually on display or exhibited, such as a product, service, opportunity, competition or other object, as part of the fair. As well, a fair can have buying, selling, trade, amusements, food and other entertainment too. An event that is called ‘an exhibition’, usually just has something on display for public viewing. Although it can have buying, selling, trade, entertainment and food for the visitors, the focus is primarily on showing off the object or ability being exhibited. ‘Exhibition’ is also commonly used with artwork or and special museum displays. So in deciding which word to use in a particular situation, the choice usually is made based on the primary purpose of the event.

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