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

Definition of exploit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: deed, act especially : a notable or heroic act


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

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Other Words from exploit


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


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


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Co-written with his brother, Carlos Cuarón,Sólo con Tu Pareja, follows the exploits of Tomás Tomás, a lothario who is eventually taught a lesson by an ex-lover. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who Is Roma Director Alfonso Cuarón? You've Definitely Seen His Incredible Movies," 23 Feb. 2019 Amelia Earhart’s flying exploits made her famous in the 1920s. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Rosemary Mariner, Spurned by Airline Executive, Led Way for Female Pilots in U.S. Navy," 15 Feb. 2019 Trend Micro's flashy paper lays out the various exploits hackers found to be possible, which range widely in severity. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Industrial Cranes Are Disturbingly Hackable," 16 Jan. 2019 Animated by Hanna-Barbera, Jonny Quest followed the globe-trotting exploits of the titular character and his father Dr. Benton C. Quest, a gifted scientist for the U.S. government. Josh Weiss, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Incredibles 2' TV References Are More Than Easter Eggs," 17 June 2018 For hours on Tuesday, Twitter users followed the exploits of the daredevil free-climbing raccoon. Bani Sapra, CNN, "Raccoon captivates internet with Minnesota skyscraper climb," 13 June 2018 Microsoft said that customers who have Windows Update enabled and have applied the latest security updates are automatically protected against exploits. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Microsoft issues emergency update to fix critical IE flaw under active exploit," 20 Dec. 2018 To combat these problems, League of Legends has an anti-cheat team that is composed of analysts, data scientists, and even ex-cheaters who come together to identify ways of deterring, preventing, and detecting exploits. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "League of Legends catches cheaters by making bots fight each other," 24 Oct. 2018 In 2016, the site decided to delete code posted by the Shadow Brokers, a hacking group that obtained exploits linked to the National Security Agency. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "How Will Microsoft Handle GitHub's Controversial Code?," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

These protocols tend to contain vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit since they were designed at a time that safety was a higher priority than security. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Industrial Cranes Are Disturbingly Hackable," 16 Jan. 2019 The news will be of little reassurance to users of Facebook caught between the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Russian-state actors who exploited the platform to influence the 2016 US election. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Facebook hackers wanted to sell garbage ads not influence votes, claims report," 18 Oct. 2018 And yet, when ISIS came to Mosul, women welcomed them, celebrating vicious policies that exploited women like me. Nadia Murad, Glamour, "Nadia Murad Escaped Sexual Slavery at the Hands of ISIS. This Is Her Story.," 5 Oct. 2018 Having set up some 30 tests and spending a couple million dollars, the United States put its focus behind developing a bomb that exploited the power of atoms. Lucy Cooke, ajc, "US military is interested in bats as possible defenders against bioweapons," 3 July 2018 Among the personal struggles, all lessons lead to one mission that exploits lesbian pornography as propaganda for the matriarchal revolution. Samantha Incorvaia, azcentral, "Campy dystopia in 'The Misandrists' doesn't spare graphic details," 21 June 2018 None of that changes the fact that the NBA has the same business structure as the NFL, that is exploiting black bodies while routinely denying black wealth from ownership. Y’all ain’t woke. Jason Johnson, The Root, "LeBron James Is Finally Free From Cleveland and It Couldn’t have Happened to a Nicer City," 9 June 2018 Merits aside, Trump’s pardon of Jackson is curious given that the president is a cultural heir of those who exploited Johnson. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Trump’s pardon of Jack Johnson is rife with ironies.," 24 May 2018 There is a similar shift in economic diplomacy, where Uncle Sam has perfected new weapons that exploit its power over the world’s financial plumbing and over the brainiest parts of the tech industry. The Economist, "Zap! American officials can destroy foreign firms like gremlins on a screen," 5 May 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for exploit

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for exploit

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

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More Definitions for exploit



English Language Learners Definition of exploit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an exciting act or action



English Language Learners Definition of exploit (Entry 2 of 2)

: to get value or use from (something)
: to use (someone or something) in a way that helps you unfairly


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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on exploit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with exploit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exploit

Spanish Central: Translation of exploit

Nglish: Translation of exploit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exploit for Arabic Speakers

Comments on exploit

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


a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

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