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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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 What is new is for private investors — in this case an investment fund in Phoenix, with owners on the East Coast — to exert that power. New York Times, "Wall Street Eyes Billions in the Colorado’s Water," 3 Jan. 2021 Russia has struck deals to sell its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to other countries, in what analysts have said could allow Moscow to exert soft power over receiving nations, particularly in South America and the Middle East. Ann M. Simmons, WSJ, "After Momentous 2020, Russia’s Putin Enters New Year as Powerful as Ever," 26 Dec. 2020 Although travel to Switzerland remains on hold for many due to COVID-19, the Eiger continues to exert a gravitational pull like no other mountain in Europe. Mike Maceacheran, Travel, "The Swiss mountain that’s changing forever," 5 Dec. 2020 Boy is the pandemic beginning to exert its will on the NFL. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "32 things we learned from Week 12 of the 2020 NFL season," 30 Nov. 2020 In Northern California, tribes with tiny land bases must fight the federal government to exert their right to manage their lands. AZCentral.com, "'Our right to fire': Tribes battle agencies, old policies to restore fire practices," 25 Nov. 2020 That’s a lot of pressure to exert on a region’s health-care systems, especially the staff. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Nearly a Quarter of American Hospitals Are Running Out of Workers," 17 Nov. 2020 Party insiders say congressional Republicans could begin to exert some independence from Trump after the Georgia runoffs. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Texas GOP infighting over speaker's gavel a glimpse of party's post-Trump future in Washington," 16 Nov. 2020 Submarines remain among the world's leading stealth weapons platforms, and can exert a heavy toll on any potential enemy fleet. Brad Lendon, CNN, "Taiwan's planned submarine fleet could forestall a potential Chinese invasion for decades," 19 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for exert

Time Traveler

The first known use of exert was circa 1630

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Statistics for exert

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exert.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exert. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for exert


How to pronounce exert (audio)

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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Comments on exert

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