I am writing some sentences describing the diagram below. From my perspective, the GDP resembles a bit like a curve (exponentially growing) rather than roughly a straight line.

Is there a particular word/adjective that explains the GDP is growing slightly exponential, something like "the growth of global GDP is ___".

This is my present writing:

The shape of the accumulated global GDP slightly deviated from a linear trend (straight line). The accumulation tended to grow at an exponential rate.

enter image description here

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    What's wrong with "the growth of global GDP is exponential ? Having some mathematical background, I don't like to use the word "exponential* for linear or geometric growth, but it is frequently used in medias as "growing or increasing rapidly", what meaning is confirmed by dictionaries. Another possibility would be "The accumulation tended to grow at an intense rate.
    – Graffito
    Apr 12 at 9:35
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    'Exponential' in its prototypical sense is an absolute adjective: it is non-gradable. I'd use 'approximates to exponential [increase]' though I'm not sure your graph can really be claimed to show that. And using the imprecise broadened sense of 'exponential', while fine in general conversation, is just wrong in a technical article. Apr 12 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


The word superlinear is more general than what you're looking for, but it would be applicable here. Wiktionary defines it as:

(especially mathematics) Describing a function (or rate of growth, etc.) that eventually grows faster than any linear one.

The word supralinear can also be used with the same meaning.

  • Interesting word, new to me. Functions are predictable, but how is 'eventually' defined for graphs showing natural growth? Extrapolation is notoriously iffy. Apr 12 at 18:25
  • That seems to be even more vague than "exponential". All exponential growth is superlinear, but not all superlinear growth is exponential. (I'm not saying that this is an unuseful answer; I'm just commenting.) Apr 12 at 18:31
  • @MarcInManhattan I think that's the point. It's just describes the general increase of growth rate, without implying a specific formula like "exponential".
    – Barmar
    Apr 12 at 20:04
  • @Barmar Oh. When OP wrote "Is there a particular word/adjective that explains the GDP is growing slightly exponential," I thought he or she was interested in something more specific. Apr 12 at 21:16
  • @MarcInManhattan This is why my answer notes that the word is somewhat "more general than what you're looking for."
    – alphabet
    Apr 12 at 22:43

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