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

Definition of exhort

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

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Other Words from exhort

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. People in the 16th century apparently liked the root -hort, but they couldn't resist fiddling around with different prefixes to create other words similar in meaning to "exhort." They came up with adhort and dehort. Adhort was short-lived and became obsolete after the 17th century. Dehort was similar to exhort and adhort but with a more specific meaning of "to dissuade." It had a better run than adhort, being used well into the late 19th century, 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 Huey Newton and Bobby Seale raised their fists to exhort members of the Black Panther Party. National Geographic, "The history of the raised fist, a global symbol of fighting oppression," 31 July 2020 Since the first people began carrying signs and exhorting us to say Breonna Taylor’s name last week, Louisville has wrestled with what has unfolded on our downtown streets. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Gerth: Mayor Fischer is missing in action as Louisville struggles with racial issues," 2 June 2020 Everything has the patina of an old VHS tape, and cuts from the soundtrack to Drive exhort us to make nightcalls and wear sweet, sweet scorpion jackets. Peter Opaskar, Ars Technica, "At the end of time and space are phat beats: Blood Machines movie review," 20 May 2020 In this outbreak, Xi has repeatedly exhorted doctors to treat patients with a mix of Chinese and Western medicines. Nectar Gan And Yong Xiong, CNN, "Beijing is promoting traditional medicine as a 'Chinese solution' to coronavirus. Not everyone is on board," 14 Mar. 2020 With the fluid cruelty of an exacting kung-fu master, the legend exhorts the boy to shape up and develop knowledge of self. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "Four Shows at the Center of a Golden Age of Hip-Hop Television," 1 Nov. 2019 At a meeting with architecture and design firm Gensler, Amiri exhorts to make his first store’s interior more open and art gallery-like. Alex Bhattacharji, latimes.com, "Mike Amiri, L.A.’s rock ’n’ roll designer, now struts on a global stage," 21 June 2019 In a spirit-lifting campaign, city leaders exhorted that if Chicago could come back from its fire and San Francisco from its earthquake, so could Louisville thrive after the Great Flood of ’37. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "There's hope for Houston in the story of Louisville's Great Flood of 1937," 28 Aug. 2017 Last month, Islamic State’s still-at-large leader, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, released an audio speech exhorting the group’s supporters to attack the Kurdish-run camps and free those imprisoned. Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times, "Notorious Islamic State ‘Beatles’ in U.S. custody, but can 11,000 other detainees be held securely?," 10 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exhort.' 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 exhort

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for exhort

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

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Time Traveler for exhort

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Exhort.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exhort. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for exhort



English Language Learners Definition of exhort

formal : to try to influence (someone) by words or advice : to strongly urge (someone) to do something


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

Kids Definition of exhort

: to try to influence by words or advice : urge strongly The Centipede was down there too, exhorting them both frantically to greater efforts …— Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach

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