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


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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 From humiliating traffic stops to beatings at a downtown lumberyard, Black youth have recalled how officers doled out their own version of justice to exert dominance and extract street intelligence. Kristina Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, "An original Black Panther departs having bridged San Diego’s eras of racial struggle," 20 Feb. 2021 Rush Limbaugh was not the first American radio personality to gain fame and fortune and exert influence by talking into a microphone. Philip Terzian, Washington Examiner, "Rush Limbaugh, 1951-2021," 18 Feb. 2021 Another area where transportation secretaries can exert control is through federal rule-making. New York Times, "For Buttigieg, ‘Generational’ Transportation Change May Not Be Easy, Experts Say," 6 Feb. 2021 Allowing the virus to spread more, without throwing every resource at stopping it now, means the virus will exert more control over our lives for even longer. Melody Schreiber, The New Republic, "Free the Covid Vaccine Patents," 3 Feb. 2021 Testosterone could also exert influence on bone mass because low testosterone levels, much like low estrogen levels, are correlated with osteoporosis, and both hormones have a role in maintaining bone structure. Grace Huckins, Scientific American, "Hormone Levels Are Being Used to Discriminate against Female Athletes," 1 Feb. 2021 Upon launch, Spotify will exert most of its domestic efforts on the global phenomenon of K-pop -- and with good reason. Richard Smirke, Billboard, "Spotify Launches in South Korea: 'You're Going to See Korean Culture Throughout the World Amplified'," 1 Feb. 2021 When an American alligator bites down, its jaws can exert up to three thousand pounds of force. Murat Oztaskin, The New Yorker, "How Florida’s Seminole Tribe Transformed Alligator Wrestling Into a Symbol of Independence," 27 Jan. 2021 How about the following assumption: Each wheel can exert some maximum braking force. Rhett Allain, Wired, "How Long Would It Take for a 747 to Stop, Like in Tenet?," 9 Jan. 2021

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

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exert.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exert. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exert

Nglish: Translation of exert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exert for Arabic Speakers

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