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?

If you want to add a little oomph to your urge in speech or writing—and formal oomph at that—we exhort you to try using exhort as a synonym instead. Arriving in the 15th century from the Anglo-French word exorter, exhort traces back further to the Latin verb hortari, meaning “to incite to action, urge on, or encourage.” Latin users added the prefix ex- to hortari to intensify it; in essence, exhortari is a succinct way of saying “to really, really urge.” The Latin words adhortari (its meaning similar to that of exhortari) and dehortari (“to dissuade”) also found their way into English as adhort and dehort, respectively, but neither of these remains in current use.

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 The report found that city officials exhort police and court staff to deliver fee increases to boost revenue. Isabelle Kause, The Indianapolis Star, 22 Apr. 2024 But President Biden publicly exhorted Newsom to sign the bill, and the UFW organized a 335-mile march from Delano to Sacramento to ramp up pressure. Rebecca Plevin, Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2024 Images and videos of war proliferate on the app, as do posts exhorting people to punish Mr. Biden’s support for Israel by not voting for him in 2024, paying little regard to his administration’s push for a bilateral cease-fire agreement and more aid into Gaza. Anjali Huynh, New York Times, 26 Mar. 2024 Trump exhorted a crowd to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress gathered to certify his opponent’s win and then resisted requests to call for peace after his supporters turned violent. Jonathan Shorman, Kansas City Star, 22 Mar. 2024 Reyna played long, lyrical guitar solos over her bandmate’s pulsing beats and exhorted her audience to remember the indigenous ancestors who tended the land first. Cat Cardenas, Rolling Stone, 14 Mar. 2024 Low ceilings, long clear sightlines and placards exhorting good behavior in English and Tamil completed the effect. Alex Travelli, New York Times, 2 Feb. 2024 The smaller Union contingent quickly surrendered, and Forrest exhorted his men to slaughter them — especially the black soldiers. Daniel Foster, National Review, 30 Nov. 2023 There is plenty to exhort, and lots of talk between songs. Tim Davis, New York Times, 13 Feb. 2024

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 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on exhort

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