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

After February’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., residents in neighboring Coral Springs exhorted city commissioners to pass new gun restrictions. Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "A Rebellion in Florida: Cities vs. State for Gun Control," 9 May 2018 Affordable housing is a progressive mantra these days, and taxpayers are exhorted to put more money into public housing. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "America’s Progressive Slumlord," 14 June 2018 At times of poor performance, critics of the NHS always exhort the service to be more efficient. The Economist, "Theresa May’s lacklustre plan for the NHS," 21 June 2018 Lady Bird Johnson, known to be terrified of public speaking, still managed to exhort 16 graduating classes not to be afraid to pursue their dreams. Steve Hendrix, Washington Post, "‘Find the joy’: The day Barbara Bush wowed Wellesley’s feminist protesters with a graduation speech," 18 Apr. 2018 Pon’s guidance explains the purpose of the orders and exhorts agency leaders to act with haste. Joe Davidson, Washington Post, "OPM guidance pushes quick, forceful action on Trump’s orders to weaken unions, due process," 9 July 2018 The Classical restraint to which Reynolds exhorted his countrymen soon devolved into disordered individuality, the eccentricity that defines English style. Dominic Green, WSJ, "A Museum Honors Its Educational History," 19 May 2018 Deanna bakes these girls lasagna, boosts their self-esteem and exhorts them to enjoy the power and beauty of their youth. Glenn Whipp, latimes.com, "In 'Life of the Party,' Melissa McCarthy goes back to school and it's kind of a dream," 10 May 2018 Rules posted in the lobby of some exhort residents to be quiet, neighborly and observe a curfew. Sarah Dilorenzo, Fox News, "Fire in Sao Paulo squat shines light on housing shortage," 8 May 2018

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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Statistics for exhort

Last Updated

9 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exhort

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on exhort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with exhort

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exhort

Spanish Central: Translation of exhort

Nglish: Translation of exhort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exhort for Arabic Speakers

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