ex·​ploit | \ ˈek-ˌsplȯit How to pronounce exploit (audio) , ik-ˈsplȯit How to pronounce exploit (audio) \
plural exploits

Definition of exploit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: deed, act especially : a notable, memorable, or heroic act a daring exploit a book about his youthful exploits I took out the list of Professor Challenger's exploits, and I read it over under the electric lamp. — Arthur Conan Doyle About midnight the gang returned, with various articles of plunder, and talked over their exploits— Sir Walter Scott It used to be rare for C.I.A. employees to recount their exploits, or grievances, in print. — Alex Berenson


ex·​ploit | \ ik-ˈsplȯit How to pronounce exploit (audio) , ˈek-ˌsplȯit How to pronounce exploit (audio) \
exploited; exploiting; exploits

Definition of exploit (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make productive use of : utilize exploiting your talents exploit your opponent's weakness
2 : to make use of meanly or unfairly for one's own advantage exploiting migrant farm workers

Other Words from exploit


exploitability \ ik-​ˌsploi-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce exploit (audio) \ noun
exploitable \ ik-​ˈsplȯi-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce exploit (audio) \ adjective
exploiter noun

Choose the Right Synonym for exploit


feat, exploit, achievement mean a remarkable deed. feat implies strength or dexterity or daring. an acrobatic feat exploit suggests an adventurous or heroic act. his exploits as a spy achievement implies hard-won success in the face of difficulty or opposition. her achievements as a chemist

Examples of exploit in a Sentence

Noun the fanciful exploits of the giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan once famed as an actor, John Wilkes Booth is now remembered for a single exploit, his assassination of Lincoln Verb He has never fully exploited his talents. Top athletes are able to exploit their opponents' weaknesses. She said the tragedy had been exploited by the media.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Factors like social inequalities and frayed social safety nets are the fundamental weaknesses of American society, which more specific problems like opioids, metabolic disorders, and COVID exploit. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 21 July 2022 Once the victim gets to the exploit server, Candiru gathers more information. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 21 July 2022 Gamers and studios have called these initiatives a cash-grab that exploit players. Nicholas Gordon, Fortune, 17 June 2022 Yet another Chrome zero-day security exploit, the fourth this year, has just been confirmed by Google. Davey Winder, Forbes, 7 July 2022 This is the third zero-day exploit that Google has had to patch this year. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 15 Apr. 2022 In particular, the WatchGuard devices are vulnerable to an exploit that allows unauthorized remote access to the management panels of those devices. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 6 Apr. 2022 The urgent update fixes a new zero-day exploit that puts Chrome users at risk once again. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 15 Apr. 2022 These glitches were just a preamble to the ultimate Elden Ring speedrunning tool: a still-mysterious exploit called zipping. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 11 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Infectious diseases often exploit social circles whose members are in close contact, including some gay and bisexual men. Denise Roland And Jon Kamp, WSJ, 26 June 2022 His confidence games exploit the vanities of his age at all the echelons of society and mock the hypocrisies at its core. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, 20 June 2022 Many of them exploit these small molecules called acyl-homoserine lactones. Quanta Magazine, 15 June 2022 As Texas’s law showed, bounty-style laws exploit a previous unused flaw in federal civil-rights laws. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 27 May 2022 Opponents with different values exploit American ethical standards for their own advantage, using women or children as shields, for instance, or sending 12-year-olds out with guns. Mary Beth Mccauley, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 May 2022 These emerging machines exploit the fundamental rules of physics to solve problems that classical computers find intractable. Zaira Nazario, Scientific American, 1 May 2022 Most important, the GR86 remains effortlessly easy to exploit as both a willing cohort for seasoned drivers and a tool for teaching car control to novices. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 28 Apr. 2022 Nation-states and their cybercriminal partners exploit the chaos and confusion that these crises create to launch their attacks. Danny Lopez, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exploit.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of exploit


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1795, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for exploit


Middle English espleit, expleit, exploit furtherance, outcome, from Anglo-French, from Latin explicitum, neuter of explicitus, past participle

Learn More About exploit

Time Traveler for exploit

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near exploit




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for exploit

Last Updated

31 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Exploit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exploit. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for exploit


ex·​ploit | \ ˈek-ˌsplȯit How to pronounce exploit (audio) \

Kids Definition of exploit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an exciting or daring act


ex·​ploit | \ ik-ˈsplȯit How to pronounce exploit (audio) \
exploited; exploiting

Kids Definition of exploit (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to get the value or use out of exploit an opportunity
2 : to take unfair advantage of He had a reputation for exploiting his workers.

More from Merriam-Webster on exploit

Nglish: Translation of exploit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exploit for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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