ex·ert | \ig-ˈzərt \
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

But there are some concerns associated with keeping yourself underwater, breathing only intermittently and exerting yourself next to turtles. Sarah Scoles, Washington Post, "These ‘mermaids’ dance underwater for half an hour at a time," 17 June 2018 Durant exerted himself more as a scorer and playmaker. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Warriors' Greatness May Annoy Some but They Aren't Going Anywhere," 9 June 2018 But Israel’s security chiefs are coming to realise that the Kremlin will not exert itself to limit Iran’s role in Syria. The Economist, "Israel is determined to stop Iran from establishing bases in Syria," 12 Apr. 2018 But the House Republican investigation is not going to exert itself to extreme measures like learning the names of major figures involved in the case. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "House Republicans Conclude Pretend Russia Investigation, Declare Trump Innocent," 12 Mar. 2018 The bottle eventually becomes lighter and thereby exerts a weaker downward push than the buoyancy force pushing the bottle up. Svenja Lohner, Scientific American, "Floating with a Swim Bladder," 5 July 2018 And numerous countries are now moving forward with retaliatory tariffs against the U.S., such as the ones European leaders have leveled at Harley Davidson, to try and exert political pressure on Trump to back down. Damian Paletta, chicagotribune.com, "Trump threatens Harley-Davidson with taxes 'like never before' and eventual collapse," 26 June 2018 Describing life inside the prison, Kushner builds up a pointillist image of the control the authorities exert. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The bold, vivid worlds of Rachel Kushner’s novels," 7 June 2018 Brown would also insist the officers lacked justifiable cause to detain him and exerted unnecessary and harmful force in taking him down to the ground. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Examining Sterling Brown's Legal Options After Milwaukee Arrest Video Release," 23 May 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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Phrases Related to exert

exert one self

Statistics for exert

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

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 \
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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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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