Definition of exhort
- exhorting voters to do the right thing
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He exhorted his people to take back their land.
She exhorted her listeners to support the proposition.
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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.
What made you want to look up exhort? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
to lessen the seriousness or strength of
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