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

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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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The focus of new architecture on localized control and real-time interactive communication surrenders the power to control/censor/exploit, precluding the accumulation of power by the few platforms that dominate internet traffic. Daniel Berninger, Wired, "The Internet Needs a New Architecture that Puts Users First," 13 June 2020 Microsoft patched the flaw in March 2017, two months before the first exploit took hold. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Exploit code for wormable flaw on unpatched Windows devices published online," 6 June 2020 There was a time when San Antonio not only bustled with glamorous stars and rumors of their exploits but shone with spectacular and complicated moviemaking. Jeanne Jakle, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio made movie history in 1920s with first Academy Award best picture winner ‘Wings’," 5 May 2020 For all their athletic exploits to date, none compare with their off-field heroics. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "Giants prospect Hunter Bishop squares off against his brother, Braden," 28 Feb. 2020 As those who know SpongeBob’s TV exploits would expect, there are several ukuleles involved. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "A deep sea of pop-rock, superstar sounds in ‘SpongeBob Musical’ to flood the Bushnell," 25 Sep. 2019 The six vulnerabilities Silvanovich found—with more yet to be announced—would potentially be worth millions or even tens of millions of dollars on the exploit market. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Hackers Can Break Into an iPhone Just by Sending a Text," 7 Aug. 2019 Even French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted a video of Zapata’s exploits. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Hoverboard crossing of English Channel scuttled by fall into sea," 25 July 2019 News of her uncommon exploits splashed across newspapers around the world. Kate Siber, Outside Online, "Meet the World's First Solo Female Travel Writer," 24 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Pickles will say that the company is watching for signs of foreign interference in conversations about the protests, after Russian actors sought to exploit U.S. racial divisions in their 2016 campaign to divide American voters. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, "Welcome to The Technology 202, our guide to the intersection of technology and politics.," 18 June 2020 Still, the week's events point to a culture-war schism in the GOP that Democrats are happy to exploit, even as Republicans struggle to prevent moderate suburban voters from deserting them. Alan Fram, Anchorage Daily News, "Supreme Court decision upholding LGBTQ rights spotlights a Republican divide," 17 June 2020 The campaign had either overlooked or cynically wanted to exploit the ugly racial subtext—the president would be celebrating Juneteenth on the site of a horrendous white riot and massacre in 1921. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Trump’s Potemkin Reelection Campaign," 16 June 2020 In their paper, Specter and Halderman describe how an attacker could exploit the lack of end-to-end verification. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Researchers say online voting tech used in 5 states is fatally flawed," 10 June 2020 And Trump’s allies believe Biden is poorly situated to exploit the Floyd protests. Justin Sink, Bloomberg.com, "Trump Invokes Law-and-Order to Put Protests Over Pandemic," 7 June 2020 The Chinese Communist Party’s callous attempts to exploit George Floyd’s tragic death for its own political gain will fail. NBC News, "George Floyd's memorial service in North Carolina," 6 June 2020 There’s Antifa, but there are also criminals that are using this as an opportunity to exploit and to loot and hurt others. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "Antifa accused of coordinating looting of Target store in Austin: Texas officials," 5 June 2020 But Mr Anies also understands how to exploit Jokowi’s weaknesses. The Economist, "Viral marketing Indonesia’s president has a new rival," 4 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for exploit

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for exploit

Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Exploit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exploit. Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for exploit


How to pronounce exploit (audio) How to pronounce exploit (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of exploit

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an exciting act or action


How to pronounce exploit (audio) How to pronounce exploit (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for exploit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with exploit

Spanish Central: Translation of exploit

Nglish: Translation of exploit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of exploit for Arabic Speakers

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