ex·​hort ig-ˈzȯrt How to pronounce exhort (audio)
exhorted; exhorting; exhorts

transitive verb

: to incite by argument or advice : urge strongly
exhorting voters to do the right thing

intransitive verb

: to give warnings or advice : make urgent appeals
exhorter noun

Did you know?

Exhort is a 15th-century coinage. It derives from the Latin verb hortari, meaning "to incite," and it often implies the ardent urging or admonishing of an orator or preacher. English speakers apparently took to the root hort, fiddling around with different prefixes to create other words similar in meaning to exhort. They came up with adhort (meaning the same as exhort) and dehort (a word similar to exhort and adhort but with a more specific meaning of "to dissuade"). Adhort all but vanished after the 17th century. Dehort had a slightly better run than adhort, but it is now considered archaic.

Examples of exhort in a Sentence

He exhorted his people to take back their land. She exhorted her listeners to support the proposition.
Recent Examples on the Web Medvedev, trying to serve out the match at 5-3, immediately fell behind 15-40 while the crowd tried to exhort one more rally out of the Spaniard. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2023 In recent weeks, Mr. Kim has visited a series of munitions factories, exhorting the officials there to step up production, according to state media. Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times, 5 Sep. 2023 Western countries exhorted Uganda to halt the crackdown and threatened to cut aid to the country. Emma Bubola, New York Times, 29 Aug. 2023 He was animated rounding the bases, turning to the Sox dugout between first and second and screaming to exhort his teammate. Alex Speier, BostonGlobe.com, 25 Aug. 2023 He is known for his Korean-language radio broadcasts during the L.A. riots in 1992 exhorting merchants to defend their businesses. Frank Shyong, Los Angeles Times, 17 Aug. 2023 On Thursday, Germany issued a new national strategy that called for reducing economic dependence on China and exhorted China to stop using its economic leverage in geopolitics. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, 17 July 2023 That becomes even clearer when Trina begins exhorting Gia with passages from the Book of Jeremiah, a well-meaning gesture that her friend accepts in polite but inscrutable silence. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 13 July 2023 Along with figures like Benjamin Franklin, whose Poor Richard’s Almanack exhorted readers to optimize their lives through a series of proto life-hacks encapsulated in folksy sayings, Douglass imbued self-making with a moral valence. Rhoda Feng, BostonGlobe.com, 29 June 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French exorter, from Latin exhortari, from ex- + hortari to incite — more at yearn

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of exhort was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near exhort

Cite this Entry

“Exhort.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exhort. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


ex·​hort ig-ˈzȯrt How to pronounce exhort (audio)
: to urge strongly
exhorted all citizens to vote
exhorter noun

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