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

transitive verb

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

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
Recent Examples on the Web Employees exert much effort to reach the next milestone, so communicating a worthy payoff to them is critical to success. Marco Van Kalleveen, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Each pair of planets completes their orbits in times that are the ratios of whole numbers, allowing the planets to align and exert a gravitational push and pull on the other during their orbit. Chris Impey, Discover Magazine, 12 Feb. 2024 President Biden could have also exerted executive privilege and made redactions. Perry Stein, Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2024 But Valdez also knows how and when to pull back and exert pointed restraint. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 28 Jan. 2024 Along the way, DeSantis consistently chided Trump for not exerting the same effort, accusing the former president of taking voters for granted. Will McDuffie, ABC News, 21 Jan. 2024 The Biden administration has resisted calls to exert leverage over the Israelis by placing conditions on U.S. arms transfers or withholding military assistance. John Hudson, Washington Post, 5 Feb. 2024 Under the guise of modernizing these lands, colonizing countries exerted control over land and culture. Philip Wolf, Rolling Stone, 31 Jan. 2024 At the other extreme, barn finds—neglected and dusty—exert a special allure. Robert Ross, Robb Report, 30 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'exert.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of exert was circa 1630

Dictionary Entries Near exert

Cite this Entry

“Exert.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exert. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


ex·​ert ig-ˈzərt How to pronounce exert (audio)
: to put forth (as strength)
the force exerted by a machine
: bring into use or action
exert influence
: to put (oneself) into action or to tiring effort
don't exert yourself too much

More from Merriam-Webster on exert

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