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

Keep scrolling for more

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 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 The parents are exhorted to sing a cloying song, but Bonnie, broken by her involvement in Perry’s death, sits stone-faced. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "“Big Little Lies” Season 2, Reviewed: Meryl, Meryl, Meryl," 9 June 2019 Trump has launched a series of attacks on the Fed, exhorting it to change course in a break with his immediate predecessors, who typically refrained from publicly weighing in on central bank policy to protect the Fed's credibility. oregonlive, "Herman Cain withdraws bid to join Fed after Republicans sink Trump’s pick," 22 Apr. 2019 Yet at sometimes raucous events elsewhere in the huge convention center and at nearby hotels, party activists cheered as figureheads of the anti-EU wing exhorted Mrs. May to change course. Max Colchester, WSJ, "U.K. Conservative Party Reveals Its Deep Divides," 1 Oct. 2018 With no sign of international sanctions lifting any time soon, North Korea has been exhorting its citizens to brace for a prolonged standoff with the United States. Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "North Korea Launches Two Short-Range Missiles, South Korea Says," 24 July 2019 Dora’s habit of exhorting viewers to repeat things after her, for instance, remains intact, unnerving other characters, who aren’t aware there’s a fourth wall to break. Kristen Page-kirby, Twin Cities, "There’s no treasure to be found in the boring ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’," 9 Aug. 2019 Since then, murals, paintings, and graphic art have sprung across the nation: agitating peace, extolling the place of demonstrators and martyrs, exhorting the world to stand up for the Sudanese people, and imagining a better future. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "Sudan’s street protests have inspired another revolution—in art," 12 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about exhort

Listen to Our Podcast about exhort

Statistics for exhort

Last Updated

26 Sep 2019

Time Traveler for exhort

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up exhort? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!