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 Sondland’s interactions in Kyiv — the day after Trump called Zelensky and exhorted him to investigate former vice president Joe Biden — will be scrutinized in public testimony Sondland is scheduled to give this week at the impeachment inquiry. Washington Post, "Sondland discussed sensitive matters with Trump on phone from Kyiv restaurant as waiters circled," 17 Nov. 2019 The Trump camp exhorted Republicans to confront the ambassador with Giuliani’s counter-narrative. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Breaking Down the Fallout from Marie Yovanovitch’s Testimony," 16 Nov. 2019 His motivational tone was more barking personal trainer at a gym exhorting you to squeeze out one more rep than Slater’s adenoidal upbeat clergyman. BostonGlobe.com, "After the Patriots defeated the Bills, 16-10, last Sunday with Slater collecting the first touchdown of his career on a blocked punt, he summed up a tractor pull of a win.," 6 Oct. 2019 Gluck exhorted workers to bring him their ideas, to share in his passion. Sarah Schweitzer, The Atlantic, "The Lunch Ladies of New Canaan," 15 Aug. 2019 On the other hand, it is also used to exhort other Hindu nationalists into action. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Babur: A carefully constructed villain who replaced Ravan in Hindu nationalists’ mind," 8 Nov. 2019 A few hours earlier, Trump had exhorted China to help investigate the Bidens, defiant in the face of calls for impeachment over the same approach to Ukraine. Laurie Kellman, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Impeachment tests Democrats’ foothold in swing districts," 7 Oct. 2019 Fischer exhorted her, covering the car windows with his large hands to thwart the photographers. Peter Nicholas, The Atlantic, "The End of the Golden Era of Chess," 5 Sep. 2019 The death rate fell steadily and sharply beginning in midcentury as public-health officials waged a war on smoking and exhorted people to eat more fruits and vegetables and to exercise. Betsy Mckay, WSJ, "Heart Attack at 49—America’s Biggest Killer Makes a Deadly Comeback," 21 June 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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Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Exhort.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exhort. Accessed 15 December 2019.

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More Definitions for exhort


How to pronounce exhort (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on exhort

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exhort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with exhort

Spanish Central: Translation of exhort

Nglish: Translation of exhort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exhort for Arabic Speakers

Comments on exhort

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delight or enjoyment

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