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First attested circa 16th century, from Latin expostulatus, past participle of expostulo (demand, claim) from ex- +‎ postulo (demand).


  • IPA(key): /ɛksˈpɒstjʊleɪt/


expostulate (third-person singular simple present expostulates, present participle expostulating, simple past and past participle expostulated)

  1. (intransitive) To protest or remonstrate; to reason earnestly with a person on some impropriety of conduct.
    • 1881, Benjamin Jowett, Thucydides
      Men expostulate with erring friends; they bring accusations against enemies who have done them a wrong.
    • 1719 April 25, [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, [], 3rd edition, London: [] W[illiam] Taylor [], published 1719, OCLC 838630407:
      The tears would run plentifully down my face when I made these reflections; and sometimes I would expostulate with myself why Providence should thus completely ruin His creatures, and render them so absolutely miserable; so without help, abandoned, so entirely depressed, that it could hardly be rational to be thankful for such a life.
    • 1843 April, Thomas Carlyle, “XI, "The Abbot’s Ways"”, in Past and Present, New York, N.Y.: William H. Colyer, [], published May 1843, OCLC 10193956, book:
      [] he affectionately loved many persons to whom he never or hardly ever shewed a countenance of love. Once on my venturing to expostulate with him on the subject, he reminded me of Solomon: “Many sons I have; it is not fit that I should smile on them.”






  1. second-person plural present active imperative of expostulō