early 14c., "action of displaying," from Old French exhibicion, exibicion "show, exhibition, display," from Late Latin exhibitionem (nominative exhibitio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin exhibere "to show, display, present," literally "hold out, hold forth," from ex "out" (see ex-) + habere "to hold" (from PIE root *ghabh- "to give or receive"). Also from early 15c. as "sustenance, food, source of support." Meaning "that which is exhibited" is from 1786.
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