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 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 But baked into Hong Kong’s Basic Law—the constitution that lays out the parameters of the city’s existence under Chinese rule—were levers with which Beijing could exert ultimate control. Mary Hui, Quartz, "This is what the dismantling of a democracy looks like," 14 Nov. 2020 Those factors share almost nothing in common except that Presidents exert little if any control over them. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, "The President doesn’t actually impact the economy that much," 12 Oct. 2020 None of these things are wholly true in places such as China, Russia or the Philippines, where strongman leaders exert tight control over political systems. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "These countries quietly slid into authoritarianism. Should the US be concerned under Trump?," 7 Oct. 2020 His Democratic Party challenger, Joe Biden, has long favored a multilateral approach, rooted in the view that the U.S. can exert more influence and pressure in concert with international partners. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, "Biden or Trump? Rival policies on China keep world guessing," 3 Sep. 2020 Epic’s campaign is meant to tweak its audience’s curiosity in the company’s lawsuits against Apple and Google, which argue that the two tech giants exert monopolistic control over market pricing in the mobile space. Washington Post, "‘Fortnite’ is trying to change public opinion about Apple. But small developers are lost in the debate.," 21 Aug. 2020 Gabe Feldman, a law professor at Tulane University, said the case could determine the level of control the NCAA can exert over college athletes’ compensation. Louise Radnofsky, WSJ, "Supreme Court to Hear NCAA Antitrust Case on College-Athlete Compensation," 16 Dec. 2020 Some critics say that Lamont must exert more of his power to combat rising COVID-19 rates and that restrictive policies create the framework within which more citizens act in a safe and responsible manner. Eliza Fawcett, courant.com, "‘I can’t mandate common sense:’ Should appeals to personal responsibility guide Connecticut’s pandemic response?," 13 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

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exert.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exert. Accessed 18 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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