ex·​ert | \ ig-ˈzərt How to pronounce exert (audio) \
exerted; exerting; exerts

Definition of exert

transitive verb

1a : to put forth (strength, effort, etc.) the force is exerted sideways
b : to put (oneself) into action or to tiring effort won't have to exert himself moving the table
2 : to bring to bear especially with sustained effort or lasting effect exerted a bad influence on his students
3 : employ, wield exerted her leadership abilities intelligently

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Synonyms for exert


apply, exercise, ply, put out, wield

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Examples of exert in a Sentence

He had to exert all of his strength to move the stone. He exerts a lot of influence on the other members of the committee. the force exerted by the machine
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Recent Examples on the Web

The movie, which begins streaming on Netflix on Friday, explores power, race, corporate ownership and how people try to exert control over their lives. Caryn James, WSJ, "In ‘High Flying Bird,’ Athletes Maneuver Off the Court," 2 Feb. 2019 Opponents see the bridge as a means by which to force assimilation and exert control. Sarah Lazarus, CNN, "The $20 billion 'umbilical cord': China unveils the world's longest sea-crossing bridge," 4 May 2018 No wonder regulators want to exert greater control over the crypto-sphere. The Economist, "How to regulate crypto," 26 Apr. 2018 In short, Symptoms is a manifestation of the amount of creative control Ashley is exerting over her career. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Ashley Tisdale’s “Symptoms” Turns Her Anxieties Into Pop Songs," 23 Nov. 2018 Earlier attempts at reform—like the Student Life Initiative of then-college president James Wright, rolled out in the winter of 1999 and gradually abandoned—failed in part because school traditions exert such a powerful grip on graduates. Alexander Nazaryan, Newsweek, "America’s Best and Drunkest," 11 Sep. 2014 Claiming that a woman is certainly a gold digger reaffirms a worldview pleasing to those who’d like to believe that men are the ones with the real power, and, if a woman ever exerts power, it’s been generously bestowed on her by a man. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kamala Harris Is Already Being Called a Prostitute," 29 Jan. 2019 In recent years, Turkey has been actively sending religious scholars abroad to exert its influence. Gerasimos Tsourapas, Washington Post, "How authoritarian regimes use migration to exert ‘soft power’ in foreign policy," 6 July 2018 Mrs May’s strategy of kicking the can down the road gives them further opportunities to exert their influence in the future. The Economist, "Brexiteers fear being stitched up by the establishment," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exert.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of exert

circa 1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for exert

Latin exsertus, past participle of exserere to thrust out, from ex- + serere to join — more at series

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Statistics for exert

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exert

The first known use of exert was circa 1630

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More Definitions for exert



English Language Learners Definition of exert

: to use (strength, ability, etc.)
: to cause (force, effort, etc.) to have an effect or to be felt


ex·​ert | \ ig-ˈzərt How to pronounce exert (audio) \
exerted; exerting

Kids Definition of exert

1 : to put forth (as strength) : bring into use He exerted force to open the jar.
2 : to make an effort She exerts herself to help others.

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More from Merriam-Webster on exert

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with exert

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exert

Spanish Central: Translation of exert

Nglish: Translation of exert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exert for Arabic Speakers

Comments on exert

What made you want to look up exert? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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